EU agrees to cut Russian gas use.
EU energy ministers have agreed that their countries will reduce gas use if Russia cuts off supplies. After talks on Tuesday, European Union members agreed that countries must voluntarily reduce gas use by 15 percent from August to March.
“This was not a mission impossible!” tweeted the Czech Republic, which holds the EU’s next presidency.However, the first documents suggest the deal had been weakened, with countries able to ask for exemptions.
“The purpose of the reduction in gas demand is to make savings before the winter, in order to prepare for possible interruptions of gas supplies from Russia, which constantly uses energy supplies as a weapon,” the EU announced.
The agreement states that reductions in gas demand will become mandatory if supplies reach crisis levels.
However, the EU said some countries not connected to other member states’ gas pipelines would be exempt from any mandatory gas cut orders as they would not be able to get alternative supplies.
States that are not connected to the European electricity system and that depend heavily on gas for electricity production are also excluded, the EU announced, in order to avoid the risk of an electricity supply crisis.
Countries can also request relaxation of the rules if they exceed gas storage filling targets, are too dependent on gas for “critical” industries, or if their gas consumption has increased by at least 8 percent in the past year compared to the average. of the last five years.
Many exemptions were expected due to resistance from some member states.