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Quest Means Business
Ukraine Warns of Colossal Damage to Power Facilities; Johnson: Attacks on Energy Strengthen Ukrainians Resolve; Saudi Arabia Stuns Football World with Win over Argentina; CNN's Richard Quest Interviews Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson; European Commission Agrees on Gas Price Cap Proposal; Dash to the Bell. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired November 22, 2022 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Wall Street is gaining on hopes for a strong Holiday shopping season. Let's take a look at the Dow,
which is up one percent or about 350 points. Those are the markets and these are the main events.
Ukraine says that its power grid has colossal damage after last week's massive missile attack by Russia.
Boris Johnson explains to Richard Quest why he has no time for those calling for talks with Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Because you couldn't negotiate with this guy, that's the key point. That's where the logical all
breaks down when people call for a negotiated solution. There is no deal. He's not offering one. He doesn't even want one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOLOMON: And Saudi Arabia stuns Argentina, one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
Live from New York, it is Tuesday, November 22nd. I'm Rahel Solomon, in for Richard Quest and I too mean business.
Tonight, as temperatures in Kyiv dropped below freezing and officials warn of a painful winter ahead, former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is
drawing a historical parallel. He tells CNN that Ukraine's resolve reminds him of Britain's during World War Two in the Blitz. We'll bring you his
exclusive interview with Richard Quest in just a moment.
But first to Ukraine where the head of the country's energy grid says that Russian strikes caused extensive damage last week. He says almost every
power plant in the country was targeted, and the disruption isn't likely to end anytime soon.
The head of a major Ukrainian energy provider warning that blackouts could last until next March.
Matthew Chance with us now in Odesa. So Matthew, we know for folks in Kherson, for residents in Kherson, they had been told if they are without
power to evacuate and to leave to other parts of the country who have better energy. What is it like where you are in Odesa?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you might be able to see behind me, it is completely black across this city. There are
some generators that are running and people are, you know, kind of paring their own lighting when possible, but the streetlights are basically all
out and there are a few cars obviously going through the streets as well, giving some light.
But it is extraordinary to be in a city of this size, with really none of the lighting on and that's because there are such power shortages, there
are power cuts taking place across the country because particularly over the past couple of weeks, Russia has been pounding energy infrastructure
facilities across the country in a bid to deprive Ukrainians, as many of them as possible, have as much power as possible at this time.
And of course, it comes as the weather really starts to turn for the worst. Temperatures have been plunging over the course of the past couple of days.
In particular, the first snowfall came here within the past week and it is settled in many parts of the country.
And of course, that's when demand for power, for heating, for cooking, for energy, for lighting is at its highest and the latest estimate coming from
the Ukrainian government is that millions of people, as many as 10 million people across the country are without power for at least some of the day in
Ukraine, and that situation is not going to get better soon.
First of all, the missile strikes still continuing. Secondly, it is an uphill task for engineers in this country to repair the infrastructure, the
energy infrastructure in time and authorities are now warning that it could be March next year until power is restored to something approaching normal
levels -- Rahel.
SOLOMON: And Matthew, as you point out, demand just starting to really ramp up as the seasons change. At the same time, President Zelenskyy appealing
to Ukrainians to use less energy, but it appears that they have been based on reporting at least and so I mean, what happens from here? Is it just
that they need more equipment? More generators?
I mean, what happens from now? Because November to March is a pretty long time.
CHANCE: It is and there are measures being taken by the authorities to try and mitigate against what will be an extremely hard winter in Ukraine this
year. Temperatures are predicted to plunge to something in the region of 20 degrees Celsius below freezing, and so it could be an extraordinarily cold
Already the authorities have started distributing logs so people can burn them to get some warmth. Within the next few weeks, there are plans to set
up heating centers where people in the big cities can come and congregate and get hot, food get an internet connection, get some heating because
remember, it's not just the lighting and the food, and you know, things like that that are affected, the power outages means that communication
systems are also down for many people across the country.
And so people are having to go to these special government centers where as they get set up, to try and communicate with their loved ones, their
families, make telephone calls and things like that.
So an extraordinary amount of hardship that has been really imposed on the people of Ukraine by the incessant Russian attacks on the energy
infrastructure across the country -- Rahel.
SOLOMON: Matthew Chance for us there in Odesa, thank you.
Meanwhile, former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that attacks on infrastructure are strengthening the Ukrainian people's resolve just as
German air raid strengthened Britain's resolve during the World War Two blitz.
Speaking with Richard Quest, Johnson said keeping European support strong would be no easy task and called for the West to supply better weapons and
equipment to Ukraine.
Richard joins me now from Vienna.
So Richard, he said that it would be no easy task. So how best to do it? I mean, how does he suggest doing it?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: It's no easy task, Rahel, and if you like the difficulty of that task is made quite clear. I was much struck by
just listening there to that report from Matthew Chance.
He talks about how dark and black it is behind him with no light and then you contrast it to one of Europe's leading capitals. Here in Vienna, I'm on
the roof of the Andaz Hotel, and there's the Belvedere Palace, an old city lit up and Christmas trees everywhere. And it shows this stark difference,
this difficulty that you're now faces not only with its own energy problems, but in supporting Ukraine.
Boris Johnson may not be Prime Minister anymore, but it is his number one task he tells me to ensure support for Ukraine and the continual provision
of arms it continues for this foreseeable future until as he says Russia is pushed out.
JOHNSON: We need to supply them with better artillery, but we also frankly, should be giving them not just helicopter, but fixed-wing aircraft that can
go fast enough to take out the drones and you don't need very sophisticated planes to do it.
The Ukrainians came to see me about it, you could do it with Spitfires. We don't make Spitfires anymore, but you just need a plane that can go a few
hundred miles an hour.
QUEST: If you can't get even that element of escalation, what on earth is going to happen in the depths of winter -- I mean, assuming it's a cold
winter in Europe, where citizens are facing recession, and they say, oh for -- why are we doing this? You know, we support Ukraine, but enough is
enough. How do you keep populations in Europe on side?
JOHNSON: Well, you come to very, very influential audiences in places like Lisbon and you try to get your message across, because I agree with you.
It's going to be -- it's going to be a tough one.
But I happen to think that the Ukrainian resolve is being strengthened by the attack on their infrastructure.
I mean, remember what happened to London in the Blitz, it didn't lead to a collapse in morale on the country. Morale was stiffened by the aerial
QUEST: Do you take victory or success as being removal of Russia from Crimea?
JOHNSON: Look, you can't be more Ukrainian than the Ukrainians, right? I think that what Volodymyr Zelenskyy needs to achieve at the minimum in
order to have talks of any kind is to get the Russians out to the pre- February 24th borders. After that you can have a conversation. I think ultimately all -- there will be talks, but those talks can't begin in my
view until the Ukrainians have restored their sovereign territory pre- February 24th.
QUEST: Now you're out of office, you can be indiscreet within the --
JOHNSON: I think I was always brilliant anyway. I mean, I don't remember being applauded for my discretion whilst I was in office. I can't.
QUEST: In G7 leaders' meetings, did you find different countries were to quote a predecessor of yours, "Don't go wobbly."
JOHNSON: This thing was a huge shock, right? We were all taken, I mean, we could see the Russian battalion tactical groups massing, but different
countries had very different perspectives. I mean, being no doubt that the French were in denial right up to the last moment.
The Germans for all sorts of sound economic reasons really didn't want it to -- you know, they were -- I'll tell you a terrible thing. The German
view was at one stage that if it was going to happen, which would be a disaster, then it were better for the whole thing to be over quickly and
for Ukraine to fold.
And I couldn't support that. You know, I thought that was a disastrous way of looking at it. But I can understand why they thought and felt as they
I never the Italians, again, massively dependent on Russian hydrocarbons at one stage simply saying, you know, that they would be unable to support the
position we were taking.
But then what happened was, everybody -- Germans, French, Italians, everybody, Joe Biden, saw that there was simply no option, because you
couldn't negotiate with this guy. That's the key point. That's where the logic all breaks down when people called for a negotiated solution. There
is no deal. He's not offering one. He doesn't even want one --
QUEST: Which takes me to --
JOHNSON: And Zelenskyy isn't in a position to do one. His people wouldn't let him.
QUEST: Boris Johnson speaking there.
Now Russia is threatening not only Ukraine's energy supply, but is now ramping up against Europe, too, sending a warning to Europe.
Gazprom says it may reduce flows through Ukraine, claiming it is taking gas meant for Moldova. Austria says dependence on Russian gas is shrinking.
Still officials say more needs to be done.
With me is Magnus Brunner. He is Austria's finance minister. Good to see you, Minister. Thank you.
MAGNUS BRUNNER, AUSTRIA'S FINANCE MINISTER: Good to see you in Vienna this time.
QUEST: It's cold tonight.
BRUNNER: It's quite cold. Yes.
QUEST: It is cold, and the prospect of your own energy issues. Your dependence has reduced dramatically, but things could get worse.
BRUNNER: Definitely, yes, but the good thing is and the positive thing is that we were able to reduce our dependency on Russian gas from 80 percent
to a little bit above 20 percent. That's the good news, actually, but we have to do more, you're completely right. Be more independent, diversify
more, invest in renewable energies and that's what we do in the budget. Spend about more than five billion euros on the transformation process.
QUEST: If we talk about the budget, we had the British budget, which you'll be well familiar with. Taxes going up, spending coming down in the
future. I assume in some variation, you're going to be doing the same.
BRUNNER: No, we're not. We are reducing the taxes actually. Corporate taxes are going down. We introduced the Eco Social Tax Reform. I think that's
quite important for the competition, also within Europe and we are doing quite well actually, which shows -- which is shown in our figures.
QUEST: So the idea of Europe going into -- or the Eurozone going into a deep recession seems to be backing off slightly now.
BRUNNER: Well, yes, we're doing quite well this year. We have growth figures of about 4.5 percent throughout the whole year through 2022. The
first two quarters were at about 7.3 percent growth -- GDP growth. And for next year, we expect about point 0.3 to 0.4 percent growth, so that's above
the European average, that's above Germany.
QUEST: But how -- how do you withstand that bearing in mind, your largest partner is Germany, they are going to go into recession, that will
have an effect on you.
BRUNNER: It will definitely but what we're doing maybe differently, is that while on the one hand, we are having the Eco Social Tax Reform with tax
cuts actually, for companies, that's one thing; maybe also the recovery of our tourism, which is very important for Austria and our structure.
The structure of our economy is also different from Germany, lots of small and medium-sized enterprises, where the order books are full still.
QUEST: What is your most pressing concern as you go into this winter? With Ukraine? With the war? With the need to keep the lights on?
BRUNNER: Well, that's -- our most -- our biggest concern is inflation and the rising prices, of course in how we can support our population, how we
can support our companies in that quite difficult and very difficult time. That's our biggest concern actually at the moment. And then how can we --
QUEST: And preparing for high interest rates? Even now.
BRUNNER: Exactly. That's quite a challenge for our budget also, higher interest rates altogether. We are investing -- we have to invest quite a
lot for the higher interest rates in our budget. We come from 4.4 billion to about 8.8 fill in in the next couple of years, so that's quite a
challenge for the budget also.
QUEST: At the end of the day, we've never really seen a situation quite like this, have we? In the sense of coming off a dramatic pandemic into a
crisis like this, what happens next?
BRUNNER: Well, hopefully we come over the crisis and multiple crises, yes, we have. We have a war in Europe -- in the middle of Europe, actually. We
have inflation crisis, we have rising prices, we have energy crisis, and energy security crisis. So multiple crises. What comes next? I hope
everything will come to a good end one way or the other.
QUEST: Thank you. Now, you know, I have a rule of whatever my guest is doing, coat on coat off, I follow the same. So I bravely took my coat off
and as soon as I did, the rain started.
So, I thank you, Minister for bravely staying with us.
BRUNNER: Thank you very much -- and from the west of Austria, we are used to that weather.
QUEST: You're used to that. Thank you very much, Minister. I appreciate it.
BRUNNER: Thank you very much.
SOLOMON: Richard Quest, thank you.
We'll check back with you later in the show.
Now, to one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history: Saudi Arabia brings down star-studded Argentina while off the pitch, there is just as much
drama. Cristiano Ronaldo has gone from Manchester United. We will have all of the reaction after the break.
SOLOMON: Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange will remain closed Wednesday, King Salman has declared it a public holiday. That's after the Saudi football
team defeated Argentina, one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
The victory by the second lowest ranked team in the tournament over Lionel Messi's men really sparked an outpouring of Arab pride on Day Three of the
first ever World Cup to be held in the Middle East.
CNN's Becky Anderson is in Doha and reports on Saudi Arabia's historic win.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice over): Sometimes the beautiful game is just that, a game, and then there are days when it is so
much more than that. For these Saudi fans, today was one of those days.
The Falcons stunning Argentina, one of the tournament's favorites, two-one in arguably one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history.
(on camera): How do you feel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel absolutely amazing. It was a beautiful game. We beat them with Messi -- Argentina, actually one of the favorites to win the
game, they were unbeaten, 36 games, but guess who beat them?
ANDERSON (voice over): But this game goes a lot deeper than just the David beats Goliath result. It's this image of the Emir of Qatar, draped in a
Saudi scarf, which really is so symbolic.
And this is why --
Until last year, Qatar and Saudi had fallen out big time. In 2017, Riyadh cut off diplomatic and trade ties along with three other Arab nations,
accusing Doha of supporting extremist groups, allegations which Qatar still denies.
That economic squeeze costing Qatar billions of dollars throughout. That four-year spat, sources here told me in private, they believed it was a
move borne out of pure jealousy that Doha had won the right to host the world's biggest sporting party, a competition Qatar always insisted was
meant for everyone.
HASSAN AL THAWADI, SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMITTEE for DELIVERY AND LEGACY: From day one, we've said this is a tournament for the region, and it still
continues being a tournament for the region.
We've always worked and strived towards ensuring that the benefit of the World Cup extends beyond Qatar to the people of the region.
ANDERSON (voice over): Then in January 2021, the quartet, as it was known, suddenly reversed their decision, and Qatar was back in the fold, evidence
of that reproachment here during the opening ceremony.
Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia wearing a Qatari scarf alongside the Emir of Qatar, which brings us back to this image, Tuesday of Tamim Al
Thani, at the Saudi game against Argentina.
ANDERSON: A major win for both countries on Qatari soil, both on and off the pitch and a moment of pure joy for Arab fans from all over the region.
Becky Anderson, CNN, Doha.
SOLOMON: And Don Riddell is in joins me now.
Don, I just want to know what was the Stadium like? What was it like on ground there? Because I would imagine there was pure shock, I mean, shock
and joy on behalf of the Saudi fans and shock and devastation for Argentina. What was it like?
DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT HOST: I mean, it was amazing. I mean, I was so fortunate to be there. And you know, on the way up to the game, the
excitement for us was seeing Messi play and the expectation that he was going to play well and lead Argentina to victory and perhaps on finally to
the World Cup title, which is the only trophy that's eluded him, and certainly it began exactly like that.
I mean, just see how easy that penalty was for him, Argentina into a very early lead. And they then went on to have three goals disallowed in the
first half, all for outside. They could have been fawning at the halftime, but they weren't and the Saudis hit back in the second half. A really well
taking goal for Saleh Al-Shehri there.
But then look at the winner from Salem Aldawsari, an absolutely brilliant goal. We might just have seen the best goal of the tournament scored on the
third day, and this arguably is the greatest World Cup upset of all time.
As you heard in Becky's report, Argentina came into this tournament as one of the favorites. They haven't lost in 36 games. Saudi Arabia, a country
whose players don't even play outside of their own country, just a massive, massive upset, totally unexpected and given all of that, the fans were just
I spoke to some of them afterwards, and they said they were dreaming. You know, this is a game that they will never ever forget, so good that the
King has declared it a National Holiday tomorrow, and I suspect that some of those fans will spend that day planning how they're going to get here
for the next game against Poland the weekend, because it is not far a drive. They could easily all come.
SOLOMON: Absolutely. Don, we know some other big news today in fact, Cristiano Ronaldo leaving ManU. What do we know about that?
RIDDELL: Yes, how often by the way do we have days where there's Messi and Ronaldo news on the same day? They are often competing for supremacy, it
has been kind of a bad day for both of them really, although maybe this is what Ronaldo wanted.
So Manchester United had released him, which is kind of what we all expected would happen when he gave that incendiary interview to Piers
Morgan on the eve of this tournament just a few days ago.
He wanted to leave the club anyway in the summer. They wouldn't let him. The new manager, Erik ten Hag felt that he was too valuable, but since
then, things have really gone sideways. ManU have not been that great. Ronaldo has spent a lot of time on the bench. He's really kind of looking
pretty sullen and miserable.
It was again going against spurs where apparently told the manager he didn't want to come on and he just kind of like mooched off down the tunnel
before the game had even finished, so he wanted to leave.
And by giving this interview, I think he guarantee that he was going to leave because how could United keep him after that?
The significance, though of the timing is this. Portugal played their opening game on Thursday, it's against Ghana, and the buildup for them to
this tournament has been dominated by the Ronaldo news, and you just know that the players would really rather be talking about their own prospects
for this tournament, and how they're going to go in the World Cup, not having to come into every press conference and be asked about Ronaldo, and
so they were already irritated by that and it's been obvious with their body language on the training grounds.
And now this is going to be the story again for the next 36 to 48 hours up until their first game. So I mean, just once again, Ronaldo very much in
the news. But it's not the kind of news that his team is really going to be welcoming very much.
SOLOMON: Not at all. Don Riddell, thank you.
And up next, we have more of Richard Quest's conversation with Boris Johnson. The former Prime Minister gave his take on the failed UK mini
budget and comparing it to playing music.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: The notes individually sound perfectly okay, but they're not in the right order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOLOMON: Welcome back.
The Supreme Court has just cleared the way for the release of former US President Donald Trump's tax returns to a US House Committee. Trump has
tried to block the release of these returns for years , so this gives the Democratic-led Committee a chance to complete its investigation before the
new Congress takes office in January. It also comes as Trump has announced a new bid for the presidency in 2024. We'll bring you more details on the
story as we get them.
A new report from the OECD shows growth in the UK is falling far behind other developed countries. Over the next two years, it says that the UK
economy is said to be the weakest in the G20 aside from Russia, output is projected to fall by 0.4 percent in 2023 and only deliver 0.2 percent
growth in 2024.
The OECD says that Britain needs to forge new economic relationships now that it has left the E.U. Richard Quest back with me now from Vienna.
Richard, you spoke with the former prime minister about the U.K. economy. We speak a lot on the show on how inflation in the U.K. is the highest in
What did he say about that?
QUEST: The core question, Rahel, always remains, when you talk to U.K. politicians, what role did Brexit play and continues to play in the poor
performance of the British economy?
Certainly with the mini-budget and now, of course, the second budget out of the way, I asked Boris Johnson, former prime minister, how far Brexit can
be blamed for the condition of the U.K. economy.
BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER U.K. PRIME MINISTER: That is complete and utter nonsense. What you've got is confirmation bias. I accept that people have
different views about that issue in the U.K. and, indeed, around the world.
People are looking at the data -- ever since to see what happened and what it meant. Actually, if you look at cumulative growth in the European
economies from 2016 to 2022, Italy is about 4.5 percent. Germany is about 5.5 percent. Spain about 6 percent. U.K. 6.8 percent. France, maybe a
little bit more. We are at the top end of the pack.
QUEST: What did you make of the mini-budget?
JOHNSON: I have a convention, which is called the Johnson convention, which is we don't talk about British politics when we are abroad.
JOHNSON: It's embarrassing. It's like talking about a member of your family when you're in front of other people. You shouldn't do it, as a
rule. It is impolite to our distinguished CNN Portugal audience. They don't want to hear --
QUEST: Oh, they do.
JOHNSON: No, no, no. They don't want to hear my views about British politics. We are OK on geopolitics and Putin and autocrats and this. But
now we are talking about the internal cuisine of the U.K. This is a subject of delicacy.
QUEST: Well, I have to admire the way that you sidestepped it.
JOHNSON: OK, let me tell you. I'll give you an answer anyway. I thought, if you know what Richard is talking about --
QUEST: They do.
JOHNSON: Do they?
JOHNSON: OK, well, it's a brilliant audience, of course. But there was a fiscal event a few weeks ago. What I would say about it is -- a mini budget
or whatever -- the -- it's kind of like when I play the piano, right?
The notes individually sound perfectly OK. But they are not in the right order or occurring at the right time. And I think that might be my comment
on some of the measures in that.
QUEST: What are you going to do next?
The standard question that I've heard you answer, so I'm giving it to you anyway, is do you harbor ambitions to return, at some date in the future?
JOHNSON: Oh, yes, yes.
QUEST: You can give me the answer to that.
JOHNSON: I will give you the answer which is what I've always given. I've always said, for 20 years, my chances of becoming prime minister were about
as good as my chances of being decapitated by a Frisbee or blinded by a champagne cork or a locked in a disused fridge or something along those
various other things.
But I did become prime minister. So my chance on becoming prime minister again, I think those impossibilia cubed or squared.
QUEST: One thing you would've done differently?
JOHNSON: Yes, there are so many things. It is a huge embarrassment. Look, I am pleased with some of the things that we did, very pleased. I think
that having a very fast vaccine rollout was great. Having a bigger selection majority was great. I think what we did with -- to help support
Ukraine was great.
What I'd have done differently?
I think -- COVID was a bummer. COVID was really very difficult. And I think the thing that we should've done, I should've done more of, I should've
spent more time talking to my troops, rather than just trying to get on and manage the pandemic.
I think that is an honest answer. It was very, very, difficult to try to run the country while engaging in this whole thing and, you know?
We had a huge number of MPs who had never been elected before, who didn't think they would be elected and hardly knew me at all. And I have to put my
hand up, I was not spending enough time with them. That was my fault.
SOLOMON: Our thanks to Richard Quest there.
The OECD also warns that Europe's energy shortage could get worse next winter. Energy prices drove European markets higher. Oil and gas rose after
OPEC denied reports that it would increase output.
The FTSE finished up more than a percent followed by the French CAC 40 and the Germany DAX. The European Commission has a new plan to cap the price of
natural gas. It is designed to curb price spikes for European households by introducing an upper limit on a specific part of the futures market for gas
The E.U. energy ministers plan to debate the measure on Thursday. If approved, the proposal will take effect January 1st.
Francesco Starace is the CEO of the multinational energy company, the Enel Group. He joins me from Milan.
Francesco, thank you. It is good to have you today. I want to get to the price cap in just a moment. It was also announced that you will be exiting
some markets in South America and Europe as you are trying to reduce debt. Walk me through what drove that decision.
Francesco, can you hear me?
FRANCESCO STARACE, CEO, ENEL GROUP: I can hear you now, yes.
SOLOMON: OK. Let's back up a little bit. I just wanted to ask, I want to get to the price cap in a moment. But first, Enel Group announced today
that you will be leaving certain markets in South America and Europe as you try to reduce debt.
Can you explain to our viewers what is driving that decision?
STARACE: Basically, what we have is a focus on those countries, where we have a greater position across the value chain. That is where we think,
going forward, the value is going to be mostly.
Therefore, those geographies that do not fit in this category will be disposed of. And we are planning to exit some of them during 2023. I think
that is the way forward if you look at what needs to be done in the electrification (ph) changes taking place in most countries and driven by
the gas, the unprecedented gas price crisis.
SOLOMON: Can you explain, what is the biggest drag on an energy company right now?
Is it the energy crisis, is it rising interest rates, is it the regulatory environment you find yourself in around the globe?
What is the biggest overhang for the company?
STARACE: I think basically the overhang is the uncertainty and the volatility on gas prices, worldwide. The epicenter of that turmoil is
Europe. That is something that is really difficult to explain in supply and demand logic.
It has to do more with speculative views on geopolitical situation and the evolution of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. I think that is the major
overhang. The second one, perhaps -- as a consequence is what regulators in countries are doing to cope with that same crisis on their own turf.
It's a combination of these two factors that are today the major concern for most energy players that are based in Europe and, indirectly, also
SOLOMON: Let's circle back, I think, to one of the policies being initiated or suggested or proposed, right?
This price cap, you appeared at least open to the idea of a price cap on gas. I want to pull up a tweet for you. The Association of European Energy
Exchange tweeted in part that a price gap like this will actually undermine Europe's gas supply.
Do you disagree and why so?
STARACE: I totally disagree with this. The price we are paying in Europe for gas has nothing to do with actual prices of gas worldwide.
Actually, I think that this logic should be challenged at every possible step. I think we should start introducing a gas price cap, allowing
additional cargos that wouldn't be coming if this cap is strictly enforced, seeing how many of them are actually going above the cap.
I'm concerned about the fact that we don't even try to do that. I think it is a mistake at the European level that this price cap is not enforced, has
not been enforced before and is not enforced right away because we are just losing time. It will eventually have to kick in.
SOLOMON: You think the idea of a windfall tax is a mistake because it seems that Enel has a position on. That. And that has been proposed in
Europe, certainly in the U.S. but it is controversial.
What kind of impact do you think a windfall tax could have on your group, on Enel Group?
STARACE: I think if there is a windfall, it makes sense that this windfall is somehow taxed so some of that is clawed back. I have no issue with that.
And I think it is just legitimate. Actually if we had a windfall, I would be happy disposing of 20-40 percent.
But keep the rest of the windfall. A windfall is a windfall. And I think there is a mismatch of a debate around this. What matters is that this
windfall is a retroactive calculated windfall.
You cannot calculate it up front. You cannot have a preemptive windfall tax. That is not any more a windfall tax; it is just a tax. Let's call a
spade a spade. And I think windfall taxes apply and should be applied for sometimes something that happened in the past, where a windfall
And I think we have no issue with that. I think we should all pay windfall taxes the moment we more or less materialize a windfall in our accounts.
SOLOMON: I think it will be interesting to see if we do in fact see these policies implemented. Francesco Starace, thank you. I appreciate the time
And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I will be back at the top of the hour as we make a dash for the closing bell. Up next, "LIVING GOLF."
SOLOMON: Welcome back, I am Rahel Solomon. It is the dash to the closing bell. We are just 2 minutes away. Wall Street is set to shake off
yesterday's losses, thanks in part to some strong retail earnings.
Take a look at the Dow, the Dow is up around 400 points, 1.2 percent. There it is open higher and has climbed higher throughout the day as you can see.
The S&P is up over 1 percent, 1.3 percent and the Nasdaq. About the same. 1.37 percent.
This could be tied to the Cleveland Fed president. She could have something to do with this. In a TV interview on Monday, she said that she is for
milder rate hikes. She called recent inflation that of promising.
Moscow is threatening to cut natural gas supply to Europe even further. The Austrian finance minister says his country ready but there is more work to
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MAGNUS BRUNNER, AUSTRIAN FINANCE MINISTER: We were able to reduce our dependency on Russian gas from 80 percent to a little bit above 20 percent.
That is the good news, actually. But we have to do more. You are completely. Right being more independent, diversify more. Invest in
That is what we do in the budget. Spend more than 5 billion euros on the transformation process.
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SOLOMON: And, finally, here's a look at today's notable. Stocks Best Buy reported strong earnings and says it is confident about year end sales. You
can see that the stock is out 12.7 percent. Traders like that, as we can see.
Opposite story for Zoom. It is down 3.7 5 percent after posting its slowest quarterly reports. Shares now down 90 percent from its pandemic peak, two
years ago. Wow, what a fall.
That is your dash to the bell.