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Poland will end all imports of Russian energy by the end of this year, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said called Wednesday and called the step “the most radical plan” of all EU countries.
“We call on everyone in Europe to follow in our footsteps,” said Morawiecki. “When we carried out our plan consistently, away from gas and oil, our western neighbors became dependent on Russia.”
It’s a dig at Germany, which is reluctant to stop buying Russian oil, gas and coal despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – even though Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck on Wednesday urged Germans to use less energy.
“When others in Europe viewed Russia as a trading partner, we knew that Russia was using gas and oil, especially gas, as a tool of blackmail,” Morawiecki said. “Today this tool of blackmail has become a tool of war.”
Poland gets 46 percent of its gas, 64 percent of its oil and 15 percent of its coal from Russia forum energy, a think tank. This makes it one of the largest EU buyers of Russian energy – an uncomfortable position for a government that sees itself as a key ally of Ukraine. It has also come under fire from the political opposition, who have accused the nationalist government of being too slow with Russian energy.
The government first turned its attention to coal – the smallest imported Russian energy source, which has long been under attack from state-controlled Polish miners. The government announced on Tuesday that it would ban Russian coal imports, and Morawiecki said the law would come into force in April or May at the latest.
The next steps will be to get rid of Russian oil and gas – which Morawiecki says should be completed by the end of the year.
He also called on the European Commission to introduce a new tax on Russian fossil fuels “to ensure trade is done fairly”.
Warsaw has been preparing for years to minimize its dependence on Russian supplies.
As for gas, contracts with Gazprom expire at the end of this year and the government has no plans to renew them. Poland will replace Russian supplies with gas from Norway via the new Baltic Pipe. The company is also expanding its liquefied natural gas terminal in Świnoujście on the Baltic Sea and signing new contracts with other LNG suppliers from countries such as the USA and Qatar.
On oil, Poland’s Climate and Environment Minister Anna Moskwa said Poland will replace Russian oil pumped to Poland via the Druzhba pipeline with crude oil shipped by tanker to a new oil terminal in Gdansk. “The terminal’s transshipment capacity is currently 36 million tons per year, enough to meet the crude oil needs of Polish refineries,” she said.
To achieve full independence from Russian fossil fuels, Poland is also updating its long-term energy roadmap to 2040 with energy security provisions calling for rapid deployment of renewable and nuclear energy.
All of this should be an example for other EU countries, Morawiecki said.
“We call on our neighbours, partners and friends across the EU to do the same,” he said. “As fast as possible away from Russian oil, Russian gas, Russian coal and a fair tax that levels the playing field across the EU. That is our plan for the EU – to snatch this weapon from Putin’s hands, from Russia’s hands. “
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