Brussels, Jul 26 (EFE).- European Union member states on Tuesday reached a political agreement to reduce gas consumption this year in an effort to ensure supplies in the event of Russia halting its flow of natural gas to the bloc.
Energy ministers meeting in Brussels agreed to a voluntary 15% of gas consumption between August 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023, compared to their average consumption over the past five years.
“Today, the EU has taken a decisive step to face down the threat of a full gas disruption by (Russia’s president Vladimir) Putin,” the head of the European Commission Von Der Leyen said in a statement.
“The political agreement reached by Council in record time, based on the Commission’s proposal “Save gas for a safe winter” tabled last week, will ensure an orderly and coordinated reduction of gas consumption across the EU to prepare for the coming winter.”
A political agreement does not require unanimity but the support of a majority of 15 countries accounting for 65% of the EU’s population.
The European Council said in a statement the gas saving policy would also grant it special powers to declare an alert that would make the reduction mandatory.
It also listed some exemptions and possibilities for member states to apply for an exemption to the mandatory target “if they have limited interconnections to other member states and they can show that their interconnector export capacities or their domestic Liquified Natural Gas infrastructure are used to re-direct gas to other member states to the fullest.”EFE