“Putin uses energy as a weapon”

"Putin uses energy as a weapon"

The president of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, urged this Wednesday the countries of the group to prepare for possible new Russian gas supply cutsincluding a total cutoff of flows, and recalled that Brussels is preparing an “emergency” plan that it will present by mid-July.

In a debate with the European Parliament, von der Leyen applauded the fact that several Member States among those most dependent on Russian gas supplies have already launched national contingency plans for these possible outages ahead of next winter, but was convinced that “European coordination and common action” will be necessary.

“We have to prepare for more gas supply disruptions, including a complete cut-off by Russia. Today, 12 member states are partially or fully affected by gas supply reductions. It is obvious that Putin continues to use energy as a weapon,” said Von der Leyen from Strasbourg.

[Europa se prepara ante una posible III Guerra Mundial: vuelta al carbón, acopio de víveres…]

For this reason, said the president, the Commission is already preparing a “European emergency plan” whose instruments, of which she did not give more details, will be presented in mid-July in Brussels.

“We have to ensure that, in the event of a total disruption, gas flows where it is most needed. We have to have European solidarity and protect the single market and industry value chains,” he stressed.

Von der Leyen assured that Europe’s efforts to distance itself from Russian gas and other energy sources “They are already making a difference”, with a 75% increase in global exports (excluding Russia) of liquefied natural gas since March, compared to 2021.

While exports of liquefied natural gas from the United States to the European Union have almost tripled in this period, the average monthly import of Russian gas by pipeline has fallen by 33% compared to last year.

“The new security environment is the best argument to accelerate the transition to renewables,” insisted Von der Leyen, who asked to “remember the lessons from the beginning of the pandemic” that “selfishness and protectionism only lead to lack of union and fragmentation“, while European coordination was “key to overcoming the pandemic”.

“As usual, Let’s hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. We have a hard job ahead of us,” said the German.

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