A growing number of countries in the European Union are opposed to an emergency plan proposed by the European Commission in the event of a complete shutdown of Russian gas. This was reported by Bloomberg, citing sources close to the negotiations.
Representatives of Italy, Poland and Hungary admitted in informal conversations that they oppose the idea of the European Commission to reduce gas consumption by 15% over the next 8 months. The plan of the EU executive body will affect all levels of consumption – from electricity generation and production to ordinary consumers and households. Representatives of the three countries expressed concerns about the magnitude of the proposed measures.
What's more, the plan is opposed by Portugal and Spain, whose energy systems have been hit by a severe drought as hydroelectric power plants have cut power generation significantly. Portugal's energy minister, João Galamba, said the country would not be able to meet the country's electricity needs while reducing gas consumption. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Teresa Ribera believes that the reduction of gas consumption by the country could affect the energy security of the whole of Europe, since Spain has traditionally been considered a major energy exporter within the EU.
Greece also opposed the plan, with government spokesman Yiannis Ikonomou calling for a focus on single gas purchases rather than consumption cuts. The European Commission noted earlier that the European Union has already reduced gas consumption by 5% in the period from January to April, and European countries that have reduced consumption more than others have not faced serious problems in the energy sector.
The European Commission has launched an ambitious plan to reduce gas consumption amid fears of cutting off Russian gas supplies to Europe. Fears were caused by the shutdown of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which returned to work on July 21 after scheduled technical work. However, the pipeline operates only at 40% of the declared capacity, the Russian side explains the reduction in supplies by the arrest of Siemens turbines, which were being repaired in Canada and were arrested due to sanctions.
At the moment, the turbines are located in Germany, whose authorities plan to return them to Gazprom. Nevertheless, the European authorities continue to distrust Russia and expect new surprises from it, so they began to work out a plan in case of a complete shutdown of Russian gas supplies to Europe.