EU plan for life without Russian gas a priority as leaders meet

BRUSSELS: EU leaders will discuss on Friday (June 24) how the bloc would cope without Russian gas, and are expected to accuse Moscow of “arming” energy through a supply restriction that Germany warned could partially cut its industry this winter Close.

A day after celebrations that Kiev is moving towards joining the bloc, Friday’s summit in Brussels will be a sober reflection on the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Leaders of the 27 countries of the European Union will blame the war that began exactly four months ago, according to a draft summit statement seen by Reuters.

Following unprecedented Western sanctions imposed during the invasion, a dozen European countries have so far been plagued by cuts in gas flow from Russia, sparking a frantic search for alternative supplies across the bloc.

“It is only a matter of time before the Russians shut down all gas transports,” an EU official said ahead of Friday’s talks.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned his country would face a gas shortage if Russian supplies remained as low as they are now, and that some industries would have to shut down over the winter.

“Companies would have to shut down production, lay off their workers, supply chains would collapse, people would go into debt to pay their heating bills,” he told Der Spiegel magazine, adding that it was part of Russian President Vladimir’s strategy. Putin to divide the country. †

Italian newspapers reported Friday that Rome had called on EU leaders to meet again for an exceptional meeting in mid-July to discuss a possible price cap for Russian gas, which Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has urged.

Under Friday’s draft, leaders will call on the EU executive to come up with energy supply solutions in response to Moscow’s “arming” gas imports.

They will also emphasize that their economies remain fundamentally strong and pledge to remain united in response to the challenges posed by the war, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.”

The bloc responded to the war with unusual speed and unity, although some sanctions, such as a planned embargo on Russian oil imports, will affect economies.

Inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro has risen to a record high of more than 8 percent and the EU executive expects economic growth to fall to 2.7 percent this year.

In their statement, leaders will call on the Commission to secure energy supplies at affordable prices.

The Commission has not made any proposals so far as the issue is very complex and divisive, with some countries arguing that the import price could distort the market and exacerbate the situation.

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