FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
BRUSSELS – The European Commission presented today, Tuesday 8 March, an action plan with which to eliminate the dependence of the European Union on Russian gas before 2030. Among other things, in a context of sharp increase in the price lists of the energy, the EU executive intends to loosen the rules on state aid rules, allow energy prices to be regulated nationally, and promote gas storage in Europe.
«We must become independent from Russian oil, gas and coal – said the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen -. We must act to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for the coming winter and accelerate the transition to clean energy. First let’s move on to renewable energies and hydrogen (…) the sooner we will be truly independent and masters of our energy system ».
Community initiatives come after two weeks of fighting in Ukraine, invaded by the Russian army at the end of February after years of tensions between the two countries. The sensational invasion has caused concerns on the oil and financial markets, contributing among other things to a sharp rise in the prices of some commodities. This week, the barrel of oil touched $ 140, while the ton of wheat rose to € 435, up 40%. The main goal in the package presented today is to eliminate dependence on Russian hydrocarbons by 2030.
How? Diversifying gas supplies, through greater imports of liquefied gas and greater production of biomethane and renewable hydrogen; as well as reducing faster the use of fossil fuels in homes, industry and the energy system, increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies.
According to the European Commission, these choices could reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas by two thirds by the end of the year. At the same time, in order to avoid the risk of gas shortages during the winter, Brussels intends to present a legislative text by April that will require member countries to have underground reserves 90% full on 1 October each year. In this circumstance, the community executive wants to promote solidarity between national governments.