May 29, 2022

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The European Union pledges to reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds before the end of the year

The European Union pledges to reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds before the end of the year

A driver fills his car’s tank at the pump of a low-cost Brio gas station on the eve of a fuel price increase announced on March 6, 2022 in Portugal.

Horacio Villalobos | Corbis News | Getty Images

The European Union presented, on Tuesday, a new plan to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, amid Moscow’s invasion of UkraineVery high prices and a possible ban on Russian crude.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants to stop buying fossil fuels from Russia before 2030. It has now made a new pledge to cut its purchases of Russian gas by two-thirds before the end of the year.

This will be achieved by diversifying its suppliers, increasing renewable hydrogen production and improving energy efficiency in homes, the commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

The 27-member bloc has been heavily criticized for its over-reliance on Russia for energy, especially in the wake of Moscow’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

In 2021, the European Union imported about 45% of its gas from the country, according to International Energy Agency. In 2020, Russian oil imports accounted for about 25% of crude mass purchases, according to District Statistics Office.

“We can gradually remove at least 155 billion cubic meters of fossil gas use, which is equivalent to the volume imported from Russia in 2021. Nearly two-thirds of this reduction can be achieved within a year, ending the EU’s excessive dependence on a single resource,” she said. The Commission “.

As part of the updated plan, the European Commission wants EU countries to fill their gas stocks to at least 90% on October 1 of each year. In addition, the foundation added that government assistance rules could be relaxed to support companies facing rising energy prices.

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Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said in a statement, based on comments by the EU Energy Commissioner, my destiny simpsonTo CNBC last week.

Energy penalties

Talking about energy dependence comes pressure rises The European Union to ban imports of Russian oil and natural gas.

US lawmakers are working on legislation to halt purchases of Russian crude in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. However, many EU countries – notably Germany – are concerned that taking this approach could lead to severe economic headaches.

German Chancellor Olaf Schulz said on Monday that, for now, energy supplies to Europe “cannot be secured in any other way”.

Hungarian government spokesman, Zoltan Kovacs, said Monday via Twitter that Budapest would not support “any measure that would jeopardize Hungary’s energy security”.

Speaking to Steve Sedgwick on CNBC on Tuesday, Edgars Rinkevix, Latvia’s foreign minister, said the EU’s criticism of Russia’s over-reliance on energy was “justified”.

“We are now correcting everything we can,” he said.

An EU official, who asked not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the discussion, told CNBC on Monday that there is currently no agreement among the 27 countries on energy sanctions against Russia. But the source said this will eventually become a step that national governments will have to take – meaning that different EU capitals can take decisions into their own hands without having to rely on consensus across the bloc.

European Union leaders are expected to discuss how to become more independent of Russian energy, as well as other possible sanctions on Russia, on Thursday when they meet for a summit in France.