Head of the European Commission warned that Putin could completely stop gas supplies to the EU and the Union had to be prepared for that.
Ursula von der Leyen stated this during a speech at the European Parliament on Wednesday. She said Russia is using gas as a weapon. She stressed that nearly half of the EU members have already been affected by the reduction or complete cessation of gas supplies.
“It is obvious: Putin continues to use energy as a weapon. This is why the Commission is working on a European emergency plan,” von der Leyen said. “We need to make sure that in case of full disruption, the gas flows towards where it is most needed. We have to provide for European solidarity.”
As Time reports, European Union countries already agreed last month that all natural gas storage in the 27-nation bloc should be topped up to at least 80% capacity for next winter to avoid shortages during the cold season. The new regulation also says underground gas storage on EU soil will need to be filled to 90% capacity before the 2023-24 winter.
The war in Ukraine has prompted the EU to rethink its energy policies and sever ties with Russian fossil fuels. Member countries have agreed to ban 90% of Russian oil by year-end in addition to a ban on imports of Russian coal that will start in August. Before the war in Ukraine, it relied on Russia for 25% of its oil and 40% of its natural gas.
In order to slash its use of Russian energy, the European Commission has been diversifying suppliers. “And our efforts are already making a big difference,” von der Leyen said. “Since March, global LNG exports to Europe have risen by 75% compared to 2021. LNG exports from the US to Europe have nearly tripled.”
As a reminder, in June, the United States delivered more gas to Europe than Russia for the first time in history.
Author - Anastasiya Glotova, 06/07/2022