Advertisement

EU urges 15% reduction in natural gas use to cope with Russian gas reductions

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday urged EU nations to voluntarily cut natural gas use by 15% in order to cope with Russian gas reductions and cutoffs. Photo by Stephanie Lecoco/EPA-EFE/Pool
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday urged EU nations to voluntarily cut natural gas use by 15% in order to cope with Russian gas reductions and cutoffs. Photo by Stephanie Lecoco/EPA-EFE/Pool

July 20 (UPI) -- The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a European Gas Demand Reduction Plan asking EU nations to reduce natural gas use by 15% until next spring in order to cope with Russian gas cut-offs.

"To make it through the winter, assuming that there is a full disruption of Russian gas, we need to save gas to fill our gas storages faster. And to do so, we have to reduce our gas consumption," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a statement. "I know that this is a big ask for the whole of the European Union, but it is necessary to protect us."

Advertisement

The Commission's proposal is a new Council Regulation on Coordinated Demand Reduction Measures for Gas. It would set a voluntary target for member states to reduce gas demand by 15% between Aug. 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023.

"The new Regulation would also give the Commission the possibility to declare, after consulting Member States, a 'Union Alert' on security of supply, imposing a mandatory gas demand reduction on all Member States," the European Commission said in a statement.

According to van der Leyen, 12 EU member states are hit by a partial or total cut-off of Russian gas supply and the flow of Russian gas is now less than one-third of what it used to be.

Advertisement

"Russia is blackmailing us," van der Leyen's statement said. "Russia is using energy as a weapon. Therefore, in any event, whether it is a partial or a major cut-off of Russian gas, or a total cut-off of Russian gas, Europe needs to be ready."

She said that months before Russia invaded Ukraine, Russia kept gas supply intentionally as low as possible.

Latest Headlines