Putin sends ripples through EU with new threat– emergency meeting in HOURS as bloc panics

EU on track for nightmare energy ‘rationing’ ahead of cold winter

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Given the gradual tightening of gas supplies flowing into the fuel-starved continent, EU leaders now fear that by this winter, the Russian leader will completely cut Europe off its gas. Given the bloc’s heavy reliance on Moscow’s imports, such an action could result in European countries facing blackouts, along with the cost of wholesale gas rising to even higher levels.  

To prevent such a nightmare scenario, EU energy ministers are set to arrive in Brussels today for a special Energy Council to hammer out the details of a contingency plan should Putin squeeze his grip on the Russian gas supplies.

The biggest proposal that is set to be discussed is the EU Commission’s plan to order member states to ration their gas supplies by 15 percent for the next two years.

However, this proposal has sparked a huge row among EU nations, with countries like Spain and Portugal fiercely opposing the scheme, while others have raised concerns.

While unveiling the plan, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that Russia is “blackmailing” the EU and “using energy as a weapon”.
She told reporters in Brussels: “We have to prepare for a full disruption of Russian gas. This is a likely scenario.

“We have learned our lesson from the pandemic. We know that in such a crisis our worst enemy is fragmentation. If we act in unity, we can address any crisis.”

Asking EU residents to reduce gas consumption, she added: “I know this is a big ask, for the whole of the EU. But it is necessary to protect us.”

The Commission is proposing an emergency mechanism to shut down all non-essential industries.

Ahead of the Council, EU nations’ ambassadors met in Brussels yesterday to begin negotiations to allow for loopholes, exemptions and carve outs that would allow countries to avoid having to cut their gas usage by 15 percent from August to March.

Despite receiving overwhelming support for the plan by EU member states when it was announced, Ms von der Leyen has facing a barrage of new requests for exemptions, even from countries that supported mandatory cuts, according to revised drafts seen by POLITICO.

One EU diplomat from a country supporting binding gas reductions: “We know it’s the winter package, but now it feels like Father Christmas is in town giving out presents, even [to countries that] haven’t been the nicest in the last year.”

This appears to be a jab at Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, importing about 55 percent of its supply from Moscow before the invasion of Ukraine.

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The biggest point on contention in the EU Commission plan is the bloc’s first article, which would give the Commission the power to impose mandatory cuts.

Polish Climate Minister Anna Moskwa said Monday: “This is something we cannot agree to.

“And not only us: Greece, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta are also against such solutions, and there are other countries that have objections to particular provisions of this document.”

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