Brussels, 5 August 2022 (dpa/MIA) – An emergency EU gas conservation plan – prompted by fears of a cut-off of Russian gas supplies – enters into force at the start of next week after EU member states completed a final procedural step on Friday, the Czech EU Presidency announced.
The plan provides for a voluntary 15% reduction in EU member states’ gas consumption between August 1 and March 31, compared to the average consumption in the same period over the past five years.
An emergency mechanism to trigger a bloc-wide alert in the event of widespread gas shortages is also included to make the gas-savings targets mandatory.
The aim of the consumption cuts is to ensure emergency transfers of gas to member states who face shortages if supplies fall to critical levels, in a move to reduce Russia’s leverage over the EU.
EU member states agreed the plan in July as Russia cut gas deliveries to the bloc, citing maintenance and technical issues linked to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow for invading Ukraine.
The European Union regards the decision as retaliation for the punitive measures and politically motivated. Germany in particular is under pressure to save gas amid severely restricted Russian supplies.
Based on European Commission data, dpa has calculated that Germany needs to reduce its gas consumption by more than any other EU state in order to achieve the bloc’s agreed savings target of 15%.
In order to reach the EU target, Germany must save 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas between the beginning of August and March next year – the equivalent to the average annual gas consumption of 5 million four-person households.