AP

EU chief warns of danger of complete cut-off of Russian gas

Jul 6, 2022, 12:46 AM | Updated: 11:56 pm

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers her speech at the European Parliament during the presentation of the programme of activities of the Czech Republic's EU presidency, Wednesday, July 6, 2022 in Strasbourg, eastern France. The European Union's Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said that the 27-nation bloc needs to emergency plans to prepare for a complete cut-off Russia gas in the wake of the Kremlin's war in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

(AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the 27-nation European Union needs to make emergency plans to prepare for a complete cut-off of Russian gas in the wake of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

“It is obvious: (Russian President Vladimir) Putin continues to use energy as a weapon. This is why the Commission is working on a European emergency plan,” she told legislators in Strasbourg, France.

The EU has already imposed sanctions on Russia, including on some energy supplies, and is steering away from Kremlin-controlled deliveries. But the head of the EU’s executive branch said the bloc needed to be ready for shock disruptions coming from Moscow, and said the first plans would be presented by the middle of the month.

“If worst comes to worst, then we have to be prepared,” she said, hoping to avoid the chaotic scenes, and the my-country-first attitude that some member states showed early on in the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Energy, and the prospect of a winter without enough heating for homes or power to keep factories going, could now pose a similar challenge to EU solidarity and a source for populist-spawned division.

“It is very important to have a European overview and a coordinated approach to a potential complete cut off of Russian gas,” von der Leyen said. A dozen members have already been hit by reductions or full cuts in gas supplies as the political standoff with Moscow over the Ukraine invasion intensifies.

Highlighting the potential challenges ahead, Germany said last week it suspects that Russia may not resume natural gas deliveries to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline after planned maintenance work in July, complicating the outlook for this winter.

Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom blamed a technical problem for the reduction in gas flowing through Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. The company said equipment maintenance was affected by Western sanctions.

European Union countries already agreed last month that all natural gas storage in the 27-nation bloc should be topped up to at least 80% capacity for next winter to avoid shortages during the cold season. The new regulation also says underground gas storage on EU soil will need to be filled to 90% capacity before the 2023-24 winter.

Von der Leyen said that the storage stood at 55% a week ago, adding that liquefied natural gas deliveries from the United States had already tripled.

The war in Ukraine has prompted the 27-nation bloc to rethink its energy policies and sever ties with Russian fossil fuels. Member countries have agreed to ban 90% of Russian oil by year-end in addition to a ban on imports of Russian coal that will start in August.

The EU has not included gas — a fuel used to power factories and generate electricity — in its own sanctions for fear of seriously harming the European economy. Before the war in Ukraine, it relied on Russia for 25% of its oil and 40% of its natural gas.

To slash its use of Russian energy, the European Commission has been diversifying suppliers.

In the meantime, the average monthly import of Russian pipeline gas is declining by 33% compared with last year, von der Leyen said as she called for a speedy transition toward renewable sources of energy.

“Some say, in the new security environment after Russia’s aggression, we have to slow down the green transition. This transition would come at the ‘the cost of basic security,’ they say. The opposite is true. If we all do nothing but compete about limited fossil fuels, the prices will further explode and fill Putin’s war chest,” she said. “Renewables are home-grown. They give us independence from Russian fossil fuels. They are more cost-efficient. And they are cleaner.”

The EU Council agreed last month to raise the share of renewables in the bloc’s energy mix to at least 40% by 2030 — up from the previous target of 32%. In addition, a 9% energy consumption reduction target for 2030 will become binding on all EU member states for the first time.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incid...

Associated Press

American Airlines CEO calls removal of Black passengers from Phoenix flight ‘unacceptable’

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incident in which several Black passengers were removed from a flight in Phoenix.

2 days ago

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

4 days ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

8 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

9 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

12 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

EU chief warns of danger of complete cut-off of Russian gas