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EU plan for life without Russian gas tops priority at heads of state meetings

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EU leaders are set to discuss how the bloc would manage without Russian gas on Friday, and are expected to accuse Moscow of “weaponizing” energy through a supply shortage that Germany has warned is threatening it could partially shut down its industry this winter.

a day after celebrations to put Kyiv on the path to bloc membership, Friday’s summit in Brussels will be a sober reflection on the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The leaders of the 27 nations that make up the European Union will blame the war that began exactly four months ago for rising inflation and slowing global growth, according to a draft summit declaration seen by Reuters.

Cuts in gas supplies from Russia have so far hit a dozen European countries after unprecedented Western sanctions imposed over the invasion, sparking a frenzy across the bloc for alternative supplies.

“It’s only a matter of time before the Russians cut off all gas supplies,” an EU official said ahead of Friday’s talks.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck has warned his country of a gas shortage if Russian supplies remain as low as they are now and some industries have to shut down for the winter.

“Companies would have to stop production, lay off their workers, supply chains would collapse, people would go into debt to pay their heating bills,” he told Der Spiegel magazine, adding that it was part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy to to divide the country.

Italian newspapers reported on Friday that Rome has urged EU leaders to hold an extraordinary meeting in mid-July to discuss a possible price cap on Russian gas, which Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has been pushing for.

According to Friday’s draft, leaders will ask the EU executive to come up with energy supply solutions in response to Moscow’s “weapon” of gas imports.

They will also emphasize that their economies remain fundamentally strong and pledge to remain united in responding to the challenges of the war, which Moscow calls a “military special operation.”

The bloc responded to the war with unusual speed and unity, although some sanctions, such as a proposed embargo on Russian oil imports, will affect its economies.

Inflation in the 19 countries that share the euro currency has shot to an all-time high above 8 percent, and the EU executive expects economic growth to slow to 2.7 percent this year.

In their declaration, the heads of state and government will call on the Commission to strive for secure energy supplies at affordable prices.

The Commission has not come up with any proposals so far as the issue is very complex and controversial and some countries believe that the import price could disrupt the market and make the situation worse.

https://www.independent.ie/business/world/eu-plan-for-life-without-russian-gas-a-priority-as-leaders-meet-41785509.html EU plan for life without Russian gas tops priority at heads of state meetings

Fry Electronics Team

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