The European Union’s Executive Council wants member states to use natural gas 15 percent less than the average in order to prepare for a halt in supply by Russia. If EU countries do not achieve these goals and the need is met, then mandatory targets may be set.
Greece, among other countries, opposes the proposals. Greek Energy Minister Costas Skrekas said in a radio interview that he did not agree with the mandatory nature of the austerity plan. A government spokesman added that the target of 15 percent cuts for Greece was unacceptable. It is said that Greece has already made a lot of efforts to save gas.
Skrekas said several countries were against the European Commission’s plan. The minister said Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Malta and Cyprus also had objections. Poland and Hungary also made reservations earlier. If they vote against, the plans will not go forward. It requires a majority from the 15 member states, which together make up more than 65 percent of EU citizens.
EU ambassadors will discuss energy contingency plans on Friday. Energy ministers will discuss it on Tuesday at a scheduled meeting in Brussels.
European Commissioner Frans Timmermans took into account resistance in countries such as Spain and Portugal on Wednesday. They hardly use Russian gas and a lot of renewable energy. Or from the member states that have already reduced energy consumption significantly in recent years and therefore will have to make more efforts to save another 15 per cent on top of that.
The Russian state group Gazprom has sharply reduced gas supplies to European Union countries in recent months. The company no longer delivers gas to the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Poland and Finland, among other countries, because these countries refuse to pay in rubles. For a long time, widely consuming Germany receives about 40 percent of the normal amount of Russian gas through the important Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. Due to maintenance, the pipeline has been completely closed, but as of today, limited gas is flowing again.
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