European countries not dependent on Russian gas need to show solidarity with those that are being forced into conservation efforts due to impending cut-offs of the fuel, argues European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, transmits MIA.
“Even member states that hardly purchase any Russian gas cannot escape the effects of a potential supply stop on our internal market,” von der Leyen told dpa ahead of a special meeting of the bloc’s energy ministers planned for Tuesday. The EU economies are closely intertwined, she said, stressing that a gas crisis would affect every member state in one form or another.
“That is why it is important that all member states curb demand, that all store more and share with those members that are more affected,” von der Leyen said.
The comments came in the wake of criticism voiced by both Spain and Portugal of a Commission-proposed gas emergency plan. The Portuguese government called the plan “untenable” and said that its gas consumption was an “absolute necessity.”
In concrete terms, the EU Commission’s plan calls for all EU states to voluntarily reduce their gas consumption by at least 15% between August 1 and March 31, while also making it possible to order further reductions in consumption in the event of a serious gas crisis.
Despite the pushback from some quarters, von der Leyen expressed confidence that the proposals would ultimately receive approval.
“I am sure that the energy ministers … are aware of their responsibility,” she said, adding that the EU needed to weave a safety net to get everyone safely through the next two winters.