AP News: “Russia’s Gazprom on Wednesday halved the amount of natural gas flowing through a major pipeline from Russia to Europe to 20% of capacity.”
The European Union member states have rolled out a plan for gas rationing ahead of the winter as Russia cuts supplies through its pipelines. On Tuesday, the EU members “backed a voluntary 15% reduction in gas usage over the winter, a target that could become mandatory if the Kremlin ordered a complete shutdown of gas to Europe,” the British newspaper Guardian reported.
The 27 EU member states agreed on the plan after Russia further slashed gas supply to Europe, citing maintenance issues. “Russia’s Gazprom on Wednesday halved the amount of natural gas flowing through a major pipeline from Russia to Europe to 20% of capacity,” The Associated Press noted. Russia has been reducing its gas exports to the EU since Kremlin launched the invasion of Ukraine in late February.
For decades, countries like Germany have heavily depended on cheap Russian gas to power their electricity generation and industrial production. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is so reliant on Russian gas exports that it does not have a single terminal to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) through its ports.
The mandated rationing of gas caused further squabbling between the EU member states. The German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported Tuesday:
A scramble to get European Union countries to agree to “voluntarily” reduce their gas consumption by 15% has highlighted major divisions among member states.
The Czech presidency of the EU dragged the bloc’s energy ministers to an emergency meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to try to find unity on a proposal which was only proposed by the European Commission a week ago but had already exposed deep divisions between EU countries. (…)
The battles over the proposal began when countries which do not have a heavy reliance on Russian gas, like Spain and Portugal, started raising concerns about what the 15% reduction would mean for their citizens. (…)
Those countries have been placated with a number of exemptions and derogations. Countries which are not connected to others’ gas networks like the island nations of Ireland, Malta and Cyprus are exempt and nations can drop out of the responsibilities if they are overshooting their storage targets. (…)
Germany is heavily reliant on Russian gas imports and facing repeated reductions of deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Russia has announced that as of Wednesday it will further slash gas supplies through the pipeline by 20%, down from 40%.
As autumn swiftly approaches, the gas rationing will hardly solve Europe’s looming energy problems. “The plan highlights fears that countries will be unable to meet goals to refill storage and keep their citizens warm during the winter months and that Europe’s fragile economic growth may take another hit if gas will have to be rationed,” Reuters noted.
German Politicians Once Scoffed at Trump’s Warnings
But all this could have been avoided. German politicians and media scoffed at President Donald Trump whenever he warned of Germany’s fatal dependence on Russian energy.
At the UN general assembly in late 2018, when President Trump cautioned Berlin against becoming ‘totally dependent’ on Russian gas, the German delegation openly ridiculed him. “German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas could be seen smirking alongside his colleagues,” The Washington Post smugly noted.
Remember German Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas smirking at the UN Gen Assembly when Trump warned him against depending on Russian energy supply? Now Merkel's chickens are coming home to roost. https://t.co/m7RrWC7oli pic.twitter.com/95xucPWlHL
— Vijeta Uniyal (@iUniyal) July 12, 2022
Today, the German politicians aren’t laughing anymore. After decades of failed energy policy, they are now begging people to take cold showers and cut on home heating.
The ordinary Germans are apparently so angry that Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock fears “popular uprisings” over rising energy bills. If the Russian pipeline isn’t up and running soon, “we won’t get any more gas, and then we won’t be able to provide any support for Ukraine at all, because we’ll be busy with popular uprisings,” she warned last week.DONATE
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