EU Member States Asked to Reduce Gas in Case of Full Russian Cutoff

The European Union proposed emergency energy plans for its member states on Wednesday, July 20, to prepare for the likely scenario of a full cutoff of Russian gas, the president of the EU Commission said.

Ursula von der Leyen said member states should cut their use of natural gas by 15 percent from August 1 to March 31 next year.

“Russia is blackmailing us. Russia is using energy as a weapon. And therefore, in any event, whether it’s a partial major cutoff of Russian gas or total cutoff of Russian gas, Europe needs to be ready,” von der Leyen said.

The EU’s plan to reduce gas consumption is currently voluntary, but if passed by EU member states, it would give the Commission the ability to impose a mandatory gas demand reduction on all EU countries. Credit: Ursula von der Leyen via Storyful

Video transcript

URSULA VON DER LEYEN: We have to address, and this is for the first time, our energy security at a European level. We have to be proactive. We have to prepare for a potential full disruption of Russian gas.

If we act in unity, we can address any crisis. With two objectives, one is every member state should reduce the use of gas, and our second objective is we provide a safety net for all member states. We are asking the member states to reduce by 15% the gas consumption. The quicker we act, the more we save, the safer we are.

On our second objective, solidarity. There are some member states that are more directly exposed than others to Russian gas. And they are, of course, more vulnerable than others to disruption. But all member states will suffer the consequences of such a disruption through the single market. So this is why it is important that all member states are ready to share gas with the other neighbors in case of need.

Energy solidarity is a core principle of our treaty. I know these are testing times. I am confident that we can master this Russian-engineered energy crisis by staying together.

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