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Sunday, February 5, 2023

EU alert to cut off gas supplies from Russia to member states – Energy ministers hold emergency meeting

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The 27 energy ministers are meeting extraordinarily today, as the EU struggles to reach a unified stance after Russia said that European companies buying Russian gas will have to pay in rubles, otherwise they will see the supply stop.

Moscow cut off supplies to Bulgaria and Poland last week after refusing to comply with the requirement to pay for gas practically in rubles.

Sofia and Warsaw say they intend to stop supplying gas from Russia during the year and can face the interruption of deliveries. However, Moscow's move raised fears that other countries could face similar treatment, including Germany, Europe's largest gas-dependent European economy.

Cracks in the united front of the EU against Russia?

Developments in the issue may cause cracks in the single united front of the EU against Russia, as many member states express opposing views on what is right course.

With many European companies under pressure as they have payment deadlines within the month, member state governments are pushing for clarification on whether they can continue to buy gas this way without being seen as violating European sanctions against Russia over Moscow has made it clear that European gas buyers are now required to deposit euros or dollars in special accounts with the private Russian bank Gazprombank, which will then convert the amounts into rubles. .

The European Commission informed the 27 that compliance with this Russian requirement could be considered a breach of EU sanctions. Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Poland, Slovakia and other Member States have called for clearer instructions. Brussels assures that they are preparing them.

While Bulgaria and Poland have refused to comply with Russia's demands, Germany seems to prefer the sanctions mechanism proposed by the Commission to allow companies to pay in rubles, while Hungary has also made it clear that it intends to meet the demand of Moscow.

Payments in rubles will help Russia mitigate the impact of sanctions. Its revenues from hydrocarbon exports also partly cover the costs of what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

How much money have EU countries paid Russia for gas since the start of the war

EU member states are estimated to have paid 45 billion euros to Russia for gas and oil since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24, according to data compiled by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Energy and Clean Air “).

Russia supplies 40 percent of the EU's gas and 26 percent of its oil imports. The EU is moving to impose an embargo on Russian oil by the end of the year, according to diplomatic sources, following talks between the European Commission and Member States over the weekend ahead of this week 's meetings./p>

The ambassadors will discuss during their meeting the day after Wednesday the 6th EU sanctions package against Moscow, which is being drafted by the Commission.

The ministers, according to the RES, will also discuss the need to urgently provide other sources of gas supply other than Russia, as well as fill storage tanks to deal with potential supply shocks.

Dependence on Russian gas varies between Member States. However, analysts point out that if imports stopped abruptly, many EU member states, including Germany, would sink into recession and see factories close.

Austria, Hungary, Italy and Slovakia expressed reservations over the Russian oil embargo over the weekend, diplomatic sources said.

Within a month, the European Commission is expected to present a plan to end Europe's dependence on Russia's fossil fuels by 2027; .


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Source: politis.com.cy

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