The draft will deal with gas shortages if Russia cuts off supplies
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that work is underway on an emergency plan to prepare the 27-nation bloc for a complete cut-off of Russian gas supplies. The plan will be announced in the middle of this month.
“If worst comes to worst, then we have to be prepared,” she said as quoted by the Associated Press. “It is very important to have a European overview and a coordinated approach to a potential complete cut off of Russian gas,” von der Leyen added, noting that a dozen member-states have already been hit by reductions or full cuts in gas supplies.
In May, the EC announced a plan called ‘REPowerEU’ to abandon Russian energy as part of the sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine. The commission proposed a nearly €300 billion ($312 billion) package that includes more efficient use of fuels and faster rollout of renewable power.
Russia is the EU’s main energy supplier. In 2021, the bloc imported 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas from the country, accounting for about 45% of its gas imports, and close to 40% of its total gas consumption.
The European gas market is currently experiencing a severe shortage of imported energy supplies. Deliveries by Russia’s Gazprom through the Nord Stream pipeline have fallen to about 40% of capacity due to shortages of parts due to the sanctions. On July 11, Gazprom will close Nord Stream for 10 days for scheduled maintenance. During that time, all gas flows via the pipeline will stop.
The situation has prompted EU countries to announce emergency measures this week aimed at cutting the use of natural gas. The reduced deliveries come at a time when Europe is racing to stock up for winter.
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