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European Union: Weekly Publication of Status of Oil Reserves

(July 2, 2008) Amidst skyrocketing fuel prices across the European Union, with allegations that speculators are the cause of the high fuel costs and general uncertainty about the oil market, the EU has called for more transparency on oil stocks, in order to get a more “coherent picture” of the market in oil. On July 8, 2008, the EU finance ministers reached an agreement to publish reports of their oil reserves. By October 2008, the European Commission is required to prepare a report instructing the Members how to proceed with this requirement. This proposal is expected to lend some predictability to the fuel market in Europe. Recently the region has experienced protests organized by truckers and fishermen over the price of fuel. Meanwhile, France, which holds the EU Presidency for the next six months, suggested that the EU should put a cap on value-added tax levels on oil prices, in an effort to assist consumers. The European Commission opposed the idea on the grounds that consumers should focus on reducing the consumption of gas for environmental reasons, rather than saving money through lower taxes. (EU Agrees to Publish Oil Stocks on a Weekly Basis, EUOBSERVER, July 8, 2008, available at