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Drop in gas deliveries: Europe must free itself from Moscow | War in Ukraine


Unity and solidarity are the best weapons we have against (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and I am sure that is what we will show todaydeclared Jozef Sikela, before a meeting in Brussels with his counterparts of the 27 to agree on a plan to reduce the gas consumption of theEU.

Gazprom announced on Monday that it would drastically reduce deliveries of Russian gas to Europe via the Nord Stream gas pipeline to 33 million cubic meters a day from Wednesday, citing the need for maintenance of a turbine. That’s about 20% of the pipeline’s capacity.

The European Commission had proposed last week to reduce European gas demand by 15% from August, in order to overcome the fall in Russian deliveries and to pass the winter without major disaster. Russia represented until last year some 40% of the gas imports of theEU.

The Brussels plan, which is due to be discussed by member states on Tuesday, provides that each country will have to Do everything possible to reduce, between August 2022 and March 2023, its gas consumption by at least 15% compared to the average of the last five years over the same period.

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In case of risk of serious shortagean alert mechanism would make binding for the Twenty-Seven the reduction of 15%.

Focus on solidarity

This last measure aims to pool the effort in the event of an emergency to help Germany in particular, which is very dependent on Russian gas. A major shock to Europe’s leading economy would inevitably have repercussions on all of the Twenty-Seven. Hence the need for solidarity.

This plan, supported by Berlin, has however been the subject of strong criticism from several states, including Poland, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal.

Diplomats from the 27 worked on the Commission’s proposal and tweaked it extensively in hopes of an agreement from member states on Tuesday, according to a version of the text seen by theAFP.

This proposal provides that it is the Council of theEUrepresenting the Twenty-Seven, and not the Commission which decides on the possible implementation of binding objectives.

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This 15% target would also be adapted to the particular situation of each country thanks to a series of exemptions, taking into account in particular the level of storage achieved and the possibility of exporting the gas saved to other countries. But some diplomats have expressed concern that these derogations will reduce the European effort.

Member countries have different issues, but in the end I expect we will have a political agreementsaid Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson as she arrived for the meeting on Tuesday.

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