The meeting of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council was organized as a result of layoffs by Russia’s state energy supplier Gazprom for Bulgaria and Poland following their refusal to pay for gas supplies in rubles.
Ministers strongly condemned the unilateral decision taken by Gazprom and reaffirmed that all suppliers must fulfill their obligations as stipulated in the contracts.
With regard to the Russian Decree on Gas Importers, the Ministers reiterated their commitment to full compliance and coherence with the existing restrictive measures adopted against Russia and their commitment to work closely with operators to follow a common approach to payments. for gas.
The two countries had already planned to stop using gas from Russia this year, but Gazprom’s actions have inflated the spectrum of similar actions against other countries, including Germany.
Thus, the key focus of the meeting was security of supply and preparedness in the event of a supply crisis, but updates showed that, at least for now, there is no immediate risk of gas outages for consumers or industry.
In this context, ministers pledged to co-ordinate work to achieve the best possible levels of storage across the EU, ensure alternative supplies from reliable suppliers and continuously monitor the readiness of energy systems, including the exchange of information on gas consumption.
“This situation reinforces the need to accelerate the planned phasing out of the EU’s dependence on Russian gas, oil and coal imports as soon as possible,” the Council presidency said. summary from the meeting held in Brussels on 2 May.
Looking further, the regulation on gas storage is expected to be accelerated, while the REPowerEU plan, which is being developed in response to the supply crisis and is due to be published later in May, needs to set out concrete actions, including supply diversification. gas, accelerating renewable energy sources ”, deploying, promoting further energy efficiency and energy saving and strengthening infrastructures.
However, all of them will require additional sources of funding, and it is unclear where this will come from, especially when consumers in the region are already facing increased energy costs.
Despite this development, the situation remains on the move, with the European Commission proposing a full embargo on Russian oil with the potential consequences it could have.
“It is inconceivable that sanctions will not have consequences for our own economy and for prices in our countries,” said Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy minister and deputy chancellor. quoted as they say.
“As Europeans, we are ready to endure [the economic strain] to help Ukraine. But there’s no way it won’t cost us. “
As Europe enters the summer, the region has little room to breathe, as overall gas consumption needs to be eased, but the countries will still suspend work to achieve the level of independence envisaged before next winter.
And whether Eastern European countries such as Hungary and Slovakia, which are most dependent on Russian imports, can or will comply, or whether divisions with “Western” countries will increase remains to be seen.