The European Union is within the grip of a “rising fuel disaster” aggravated by its dependency on Russia, Brussels will warn, because it makes an extra push for vitality financial savings and a swap to renewable energy.
In keeping with a draft paper on EU vitality costs, which is because of be printed on Tuesday, and which has been seen by the Guardian:
Fuel and electrical energy costs will stay excessive and unstable till at the least 2023. In comparison with the outlook of final autumn, the state of affairs has deteriorated.
Together with the remainder of the world, the EU has been grappling with hovering vitality costs for months, however Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has provoked soul looking about Europe’s fuel dependency.
The union imports 40% of its fuel from Russia, a determine unchanged in additional than 15 years regardless of repeated gas crises triggered by Moscow slicing off provides.
The coverage paper additionally confirms that EU competitors authorities are investigating the Russian state vitality firm Gazprom for its “uncommon enterprise behaviour”. The Russian firm’s EU storage services are solely 16% full, in contrast with 44% for non-Gazprom storage, elevating suspicions that the Kremlin is utilizing fuel as a geopolitical instrument.
The paper states:
The fee is at the moment investigating as a matter of precedence all allegations of attainable anti-competitive industrial conduct by Gazprom and gathering further info from related market gamers.
The draft, from final week, makes no touch upon extending EU sanctions to Russian oil. On Sunday, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, mentioned Washington was “in very active discussions” with European allies a few Russian oil ban.
The fee makes a collection of suggestions, together with calling for a speedy settlement on EU vitality effectivity legal guidelines, estimated to end in 17bn cubic metres (bcm) of vitality financial savings by 2025, a part of the EU’s green deal plan.
The European Fee additionally needs extra EU funds for brand new photo voltaic applied sciences, whereas member states are urged to make use of revenues from the EU’s carbon buying and selling scheme to fund the swap to renewable vitality.
EU imports of liquefied pure fuel hit practically 10 bcm in January, the highest-ever month-to-month stage, because the union sought alternate options to Russian fuel within the buildup to Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine.
The fee says it plans to carry talks with different main LNG patrons, specifically China, Japan, South Korea and India, “with a view to avoiding conflictual market practices sooner or later, which increase the value of vitality provides for all”.
Individually, the European Fee president, Ursula von der Leyen, mentioned the EU was engaged on a package deal of additional sanctions towards Russia in response to the “Kremlin’s recklessness in direction of residents”.
Talking alongside the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, she mentioned:
We will probably be discussing the brand new enforcement package deal which we’re engaged on proper now … We have now to ensure that there are not any loopholes and that the impact of sanctions is actually maximised.
In view of the evolution of the state of affairs in Ukraine, the Kremlin’s recklessness in direction of residents: girls, youngsters, males, we’re in fact additionally engaged on additional sanctions that is perhaps warranted.
She didn’t elaborate on these particulars, however went on to say the EU should “eliminate the dependency on Russian fuel, oil and coal”.