EU countries agree to cut gas usage; By 15%, Dutch Minister says
The 27 European Union countries have agreed to cuts to gas usage in the coming months that should prevent households, companies, and hospitals from being left without heating if Russia decides to stop supply completely. “It turned out not to be an impossible mission after all,” the Czech EU presidency tweeted.
On arrival at the meeting of European climate and energy ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, Minister Rob Jetten said that the EU countries were “close to an agreement” to voluntarily cut gas by 15 percent from August to March. “All EU countries are aware of the importance of gas savings,” Jetten said.
“It is important that we get to work,” said Jetten. “We have to save save save.” According to him, the Netherlands has shown that this is possible. “In the end, as Europe, we will have to get off Russian gas completely and focus more quickly on other energy sources.”
Last week, the European Commission presented the emergency plan “Save gas for a safe winter” because it is not confident that Russia will continue to supply the gas it promised. If it turns out in September that the voluntary cuts aren’t happening fast enough, then the member states can decide to take mandatory measures, Jetten said.
The goal is to reduce the consumption by 45 billion cubic meters of gas in the coming months. But getting that plan through requires the support of a qualified majority - at least 15 EU countries where at least 65 percent of the EU population lives.
Reporting by ANP