The EU revolts against VDL’s energy proposal as some countries prepare to punish Germany.

Today, EU energy ministers are meeting in Brussels to talk about Ursula Von der Leyen’s plan for energy. EU nations will approve a reduced emergency energy plan to restrict gas usage today, with opt-outs enabling them to take alternative national courses to prepare for Russian supply cutbacks.

Last Monday, the EU Commission proposed emergency rules that would cut gas use by 15% from August to March.

Even though the goal is voluntary right now, the Commission could make it mandatory in an emergency.

Russia’s Gazprom says it will cut Nord Stream 1 gas shipments again this week. At the same time, Brussels warns a dozen EU nations that a complete cut-off is inevitable and urges them to save gas for winter. 

Several governments opposed the idea, so several nations and sectors were exempted. Some EU ambassadors said ministers were poised to support the proposal after many negotiated exemptions or softer restrictions. One said, “There should be a broad consensus.”

Others cautioned that weaker standards might prevent nations from saving enough gas for the winter. Some governments claim a single percentage reduction for all countries is unreasonable.

Spain, which doesn’t use Russian gas, says decreasing its own gas usage wouldn’t help other nations since it lacks the means to distribute its extra gas.

Greece says it could handle a Russian cutoff. Portugal, Ireland, and Cyprus condemned the initiative as “payback” for Germany.

Countries that suffered from German fiscal constraints during the previous eurozone crisis have little compassion for Berlin today.

Even though prices are going up and Russia’s supply is going down, EU members have only cut their total gas use by 5%. Before invading Ukraine in February, Russia provided 40% of EU gas. 

Ireland and Malta would not have to cut their gas use by 15% because they are not connected to the gas networks of the EU.

Countries with complete gas storage might face fewer objectives, and governments can exclude gas used in key sectors like steelmaking. States that sell gas to other EU members could cut consumption by 8%.

After many countries said no to the Commission’s first idea that it should have the final say, the plan would need a majority of nations to agree to cut back on gas. Source

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