"We want to come out with a clear message of unity in the face of Putin's blackmail," said the Spanish Vice President for Energy Transition, Teresa Ribera. “Yesterday's Gazprom announcements underline once again that we have to be prepared for possible supply cuts from Russia at any time", said the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, upon arrival at the Council of EU Energy Ministers, which meets this Tuesday in Brussels in an extraordinary way to agree on a common response to the hypothesis that there will be no Russian gas at the return of summer.
Brussels lowers its proposal to ration gas in an emergency after pressure from countries like Spain
“We have to act right now, tackle this crisis right now and together”, Commissioner Simson continued, adding on the reduction of the Russian flow to Germany: “We know that there is no technical reason to do so. It is a politically motivated step and we have to be prepared. This is precisely why the preventive reduction of our gas demand is a smart strategy. We must reduce our demand preventively and continue with gas storage, which is currently at 66%. This also allows us to reduce the future gap between supply and demand. The Member States have different circumstances, different starting positions. But I hope that at the end of the day we will have a political agreement.”
“The Commission proposed the regulation just a week ago, and our proposal was that the message we send has to be based on unity and solidarity, because every volume of gas that we manage not to use can help other Member States that face very serious challenges. difficult after interruption. But in fact the Member States are using different volumes of gas. Interconnections are not enough for some. You have to present a plan that has broad support and that actually provides a significant reduction in gas already this winter.”
In the last few hours, the 27 have been renegotiating the proposal of the European Commission last Wednesday in the face of protests from countries such as Spain, Greece, Malta and Italy, among others, who have challenged the 15% linear cut presented by Brussels. “We want to come out with a clear message of unity in the face of Putin's blackmail, of solidarity, with those who find themselves in a tough situation”, said Ribera, “but also of flexibility for effective solidarity. Savings and efficiency are necessary to release resources that can be used by others, but this only makes sense if they can really be used by others. That is why there are effective measures around facilitating access to other countries. Spain re-exports 20% of the gas it imports, and we are in a position to strengthen those capacities to re-export through the trans-Pyrenean gas pipelines and forward with the methane carriers. The access of the states of northern and central Europe is decisive. We hope that these proposals will be activated to successfully overcome the complicated winter and autumn that is coming”.
The Spanish vice-president has recognized that “the national realities are different, the limitations are different. It is of little use for an island to save 15% if it cannot transfer anything. We do not believe that there are supply problems in Spain; we are a port of entry to reinforce the capacity to supply where it is needed. Our approach is that the ability to provide a good part of the gas from the center of Europe is based on putting these expensive infrastructures in favor of a larger population than the Spanish. In principle we accept the proposal presented by the Czech presidency”.
Jozef Síkela, Minister of Energy of the Czech Republic, the country that assumes the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU this semester, stated upon arrival at the meeting: “Winter is coming and we don't know how cold it will be. But what we do know for sure is that Putin will continue to play dirty games with him by abusing and blackmailing for gas supplies. And this is something that we have to prepare our homes and economies for and we have to protect them. The recent Odessa attack has shown that Russia is not and will never be a reliable partner. And just yesterday, Gazprom announced an additional cut in gas supply, which has immediately caused prices to rise. This is evidence that we need to reduce dependence on Russian supplies as soon as possible."
In this sense, Ribera has stated that “fixing the 15% reduction was very difficult, and even more so making these infrastructures available. I do think that domestic saving is now particularly important. Yes, there will be a reduction target. We must combine the measures so that those who need it can have access to energy, our added value is to facilitate access to other energy”.