Energy ministers from across the EU are holding emergency talks after Russia halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland last week.
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Officials gathered in Brussels yesterday as the “bloc seeks a unified response” to Moscow’s demand that European countries “pay for Russian gas in rubles” — or face having their supplies cut off — amid harsh sanctions “, Reuters reported.
Both Bulgaria and Poland “already planned to stop using Russian gas this year and said they could cope with the freeze,” the news agency continued. But the shutdown has “raised fears that other EU countries, including Europe’s gas-dependent economic powerhouse Germany, could be next”.
Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom is the EU’s largest supplier of gas, and Germany is the most dependent on that supply of any of the most developed economies. According to the latest data from European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) supplies Russia with 49% of the gas imported by Germany.
Russian gas also accounts for almost half (46%) of Italy’s supply.
France also depends on Norwegian gas, which accounts for 35% of the national supply, compared to 24% from Russia. Spain is also not “on the list of Russia’s biggest customers”, with Madrid instead relying heavily on gas from Algeria and the US, the data site reported.
But some smaller European countries depend almost exclusively on Russian gas Deliveries including North Macedonia, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina show ACER data.
Finland and Latvia also get more than 90% of their gas from Russia, while Serbia gets 89%. In the Netherlands and Romania, the dependency is far lower at around 10%, while Ireland does not depend on Russian gas at all.
And Ukraine has not used Russian gas since 2015.
As a number of countries dependent on Russian supplies “face gas payment deadlines later this month,” EU member states are urging the bloc to “clarify whether companies can continue buying the fuel without violating Western sanctions against Moscow.” breach,” Reuters reported.
As Russia is hit by an overseas cash freeze, Moscow has required foreign buyers to “deposit euros or dollars into an account at Russia’s private bank Gazprombank, which would convert them into rubles.”
The European Commission has warned member states that “compliance with Russia’s plan could breach EU sanctions,” the news agency continued. But the Commission muddied the waters by also “proposing that countries could make sanctions-compliant payments if they declare the payment to be complete once it’s made in euros and before it’s converted.”
EU leaders appear divided over “how quickly” they could “de-dependence on Russian energy supplies,” he said BBC‘s business reporter Michael Race. With the threat of a Russian gas shutdown looming, member states face “two major challenges”.
The first is paying for Russian gas without violating sanctions, while the longer-term challenge is “how to source and develop alternative supplies to break away from dependence on Russia.”
Countries including Germany have claimed they would be “able to weather a Russian oil ban by the end of 2022” and appear to support “tougher sanctions” against Moscow, Race reported. But Hungary “is against such a move” and “would do it not resort to measures that could jeopardize the supply“.
The war in Ukraine has put Europe at a “crossroads” in terms of energy supplies, he said France 24. And as the conflict rages on, the question of whether “the continent can wean itself off Russian gas” remains unanswered.
With the “gas stop for Poland and Bulgaria,” Moscow has “taken an aggressive step that could result in even more European sanctions,” he said The economist.
in one Explanation Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU’s response to the “provocation” would be “immediate, cohesive and coordinated”.
But the threat of gas shipments is “the most aggressive economic sanctions Russia has ever imposed on the West,” said Henry Curr, business editor of The Economist.
“To some extent, this is all part of a strategic game that’s taking place between Europe and Russia,” Curr argued. “The Russians clearly believe there is a strategic advantage to be had here, and that could mean there is more to come.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/russia/956614/which-countries-most-reliant-on-russian-gas The countries most dependent on Russian gas