The EU softens its demands on countries to reduce gas consumption

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The EU relaxes its demands on countries to reduce gas consumption

The countries of the European Union(EU) try to get Brussels to soften the plan so that it reduces its gas consumption by 15% between August and March. The Czech Republic, which is presiding over the Council of the EU this semester, is Leading these days the negotiation between the states on that proposal, in which some changes have already been introduced to the original text of the Commission, indicated diplomatic sources, which soften the savings plan.

Brussels has urged countries to reduce gas use now to help fill depositsbefore winter, and has warned that a complete cut off of Russian gas is likely. However, the EU plan has faced resistance from a number of governments. Spain was the first country to reject the Brussels proposal, a position later joined by others such as Portugal. and Greece. And other delegations also raised objections.

Germany, heavily dependent on Russian gas imports, has nonetheless been in favor of the Brussels proposal from day one. France, on the other hand, is against establishing uniform criteria for all countries.

Revised proposal

Diplomats from the EU countries are debating this Monday a revised proposal, before the Energy ministerstry to come to an agreement on it on Tuesday. The proposal, seen by Reuters, would maintain the voluntary target for all countries to reduce their gas consumption, but would offer a number of exemptions to the binding target.

In According to the last draft of the text, although the objective of a 15% cut in gas consumption is maintained, modifications have been proposed that would allow countries to request derogations for a series of reasons< /strong>s, like the geographical situation. The objective sought is “to allow reductions to be moderated” in exchange for commitments from the countries to increase energy transfers between member states as much as possible.

Another change introduced in the original proposal is that there are five member states(Instead of just the Commission as indicated in the first proposal) those who can request the declaration of a state of alert that would trigger the obligation to cut gas consumption. In any case, whether requested by the European Commission or at the initiative of five member states, the declaration of alert could only be adopted with the support of a qualified majority of countries, the sources indicated.

Chemical and iron and steel industry

Those with large volumes of gas in storage could face lower targets to curb demand, as could states that export gas to other countries, likely to include Spain”. a, which does not depend on Russia for gas and has been one of the strongest opponents of the EU proposal. Critical sectors such as chemicals and steel could also be exempted.

Despite the advances, there is “a whole set of open questions, some of a legal nature, others of a political or ethical nature”, which the states continue to debate, including the particular situation of the islands, which has no power connections. Regarding Spain's position with a view to Tuesday's meeting, the country has “a fundamental commitment to solidarity” and the “conviction that we must remain united and at the same time effectively and proportionate”.

Some diplomats from EU countries have welcomed the latest proposal as a basis for an agreement, while others have expressed concern that With so many exemptions, Europe may not be able to save enough gas to get through the winter if Russia cuts off supply. One diplomat said the goal was to ensure that countries show their solidarity by agreeing to act together, while ensuring that the proposal does not become so weak that it becomes a dead letter. p>

The matter will be discussed. In an extraordinary Energy Council this Tuesday where the countries hope to agree on an issue that has generated “a lot of debate“. But despite the open issues, the European ministers are confident of being able to close a political agreement on the Regulation, according to the same sources.

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