WAR IN UKRAINE: EU MEASURES TO REDUCE ITS DEPENDENCE ON RUSSIAN GAS

The European Commission presented, Tuesday, March 8, several measures to try to get the European Union out of its dependence on Russian gas this year.

Russia supplies nearly 40% of the gas used in Europe. [Pixabay]

Russia supplies around 40% of the gas used in Europe. But the uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine and possible economic sanctions have caused energy prices to rise.

To limit the economic consequences, the European Commission now wants to reduce Russian gas imports by two thirds. 

First of all, it plans to diversify gas supplies to the EU, by continuing talks with other energy-producing countries, such as Algeria, Qatar and the United States. 

She also wants to accelerate the transition to better insulation and better heating methods to save as much gas as possible. What, according to her, "make the EU independent of Russian hydrocarbons well before 2030". 

A PROGRESSIVE RUPTURE

This project will be a real challenge for Finland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, which import most of their gas from  Russia. The Commission called for a gradual break: "Let's not hurt ourselves more than we hurt Putin," said Vice-President Frans Timmermans. “We must not destabilize our societies at a time when we must remain united,” he added. 

In the immediate future, Brussels wants to moderate the impact on consumer bills by widening the range of possible measures for States: price regulation, direct aid, tax reductions, abolition of VAT, etc. 

In France, the price of gas has been frozen since last October. It should remain so until June 2022, but the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire said he was in favor of an extension. “We are ready to continue the price freeze” until the end of 2022 if the war in Ukraine continues, he announced on February 25. A desire recalled by Emmanuel Macron himself, during his first campaign trip, this Monday in Poissy (Yvelines) .

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