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Global Economy

EU to save 15 percent gas

In the event of a gas emergency, the EU Commission has proposed a 15 percent reduction in gas consumption in the EU member states. This should initially be based on a voluntary basis, but could also become mandatory. In the event of an emergency, the Commission is seeking special powers in order to be able to enforce even more drastic measures in Europe.

According to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the plan envisages a two-stage process: First, between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023, the member states are to achieve savings in gas consumption from the public sector, business and consumers. For example, heaters could be throttled and the runtimes of nuclear power plants could be extended.

"EU-Alarm" as a new emergency tool

If this is not enough, the Commission wants to take action with a new "emergency instrument" and call out an "EU alarm". The supply of private households and facilities that require special protection, such as hospitals, must be ensured. For such an “emergency instrument”, however, the member states would have to agree to a new legal basis.

Von der Leyen justified the plans: "We have to prepare for a possible complete disruption of Russian gas supplies." This is a likely scenario.

Admonition to act together

It has been seen in the past that Russia is trying to put pressure on the EU by reducing gas supplies. According to von der Leyen, a complete stop in deliveries would hit all EU countries hard. At the same time, she stressed that the EU could overcome the difficulties if it acted as one.

She emphasized that solidarity is necessary. She hopes that the EU member states are ready to help each other out.

The Commission cannot decide on the gas emergency plan independently, but can only propose it to the member states. They must vote on it with a qualified majority. 15 of the 27 states, which represent at least 65 percent of the EU population, have to vote for this. The proposal is to be discussed at a special European Council of Ministers next Tuesday.

Gas delivery to Germany at 26 percent

According to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the proportion of Russian gas deliveries in Germany, which previously averaged 55 percent, fell to 26 percent by the end of June 2022, according to the "Third Progress Report on Energy Security". The reason for the decline is also the throttled gas deliveries through the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1.

The ministry expects that together with "short-term efforts" by companies and private households to reduce gas use through energy efficiency, energy saving and electrification, the share of Russian gas supplies in gas consumption can be reduced to around 30 percent by the end of 2022.

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