EU announces fresh Russian gas commitment

3 mins read

Josep Borrell vows that the bloc would explore for new energy sources, but it won’t happen immediately

In the upcoming years, the European Union will wean itself from Russian natural gas, the bloc’s top diplomat pledged on Thursday.

Josep Borrell, the high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy, stated that EU countries have concluded that they are overly reliant on Russian gas in an interview with Television Espanola.

First it will be coal, then… oil… but it will take more time to [phase out Russian] gas, because we have to adapt, we cannot go from 40% to 0% overnight,” he said. “And Russia knows that we will stop buying its gas.

Russia wants to sell its gas, but not necessary to us,” Borrell added, urging EU member states to cut down on energy consumption voluntarily so that the authorities will not have to enforce mandatory restrictions.

The EU ambassador added that steps had already been taken by the union to reduce its reliance on Russian gas. He stated, “We have already begun conserving Russian gas.” “In Europe, lowering the standard heating temperature by one degree equates to a 6% gas savings.”

Borrell claims that before the Ukraine crisis started, Europe purchased roughly 40% of its natural gas from Russia; today, that percentage is closer to 20%.

We have approved almost all [sanctions on Russia] that we could have,” he said. “But the situation with the gas is the opposite; the point isn’t that we don’t want to buy it, the point is that [Russia] may refuse to sell it to us.”

European Union countries decided to consume less gas earlier this week in anticipation of a probable full shutdown of Russian supply. Between August 2022 and the end of March 2023, member states will voluntarily cut their natural gas usage by 15% as part of the emergency plan. EU countries think that implementing this contentious plan will mitigate the effects if Moscow decides to halt delivery.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, supported the strategy despite some opposition inside the EU, saying Moscow was “not a trustworthy partner for Europe’s energy supply” and that the EU “must be prepared for the worst-case scenario.”

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