EU leaders have expressed fears about a “harsh winter” ahead of the continent amid reduced gas supplies from Russia, promising to intensify their efforts to reduce their energy dependence on Russia.
“We have reviewed all national contingency plans to make sure everyone is prepared for new disruptions and are working on a contingency plan to reduce energy demand with the sector and 27 Member States,” European Commission President Ursula said. von der Leyen after the EU meeting. heads of state and government at the Brussels summit on Friday, who will present the plan in July.
For his part, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo said: “We are in for very turbulent times, and this winter could be very difficult” against the background of the Russian military operation in Ukraine and strikes in the energy supply from Russia.
De Croo said what was happening was “an economic war against Europe and its impact can be felt strongly”, calling for Europeans to unite. And he warned that “if Germany runs into problems, it will have a significant impact on the rest of European countries.”
In Friday’s summit conclusions, the 27 countries called on the Council and the European Commission to take action to “better co-ordination” of national energy policies, especially with regard to energy procurement and storage.
Von der Leyen referred to a €300 billion European strategy unveiled on May 18, based on three pillars: energy conservation, development of renewable energy sources and diversification of gas and oil suppliers.
The bloc also urged the commission to explore the possibility of imposing “temporary restrictions on customs duties on imports” of energy resources. France has asked for a reform of the European electricity market, which sets its prices in line with gas prices, which have soared.
Von der Leyen promised to come up with “several options” after the summer, to be discussed at the next European Council in October.