By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Under the agreement, the 27-nation bloc will reduce gas usage by 15 percent compared to the previous five years. Decisions regarding measures for achieving this goal will be left up to each member state.
The move agreed by EU ministers came as Moscow has been toying with supplies to Europe after it imposed sanctions on Russia over its military invasion of Ukraine.
“Today, the EU has taken a decisive step to face down the threat of a full gas disruption by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” said the president of the EU’s executive European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
“I strongly welcome the endorsement by Council of the council regulation on coordinated demand reduction measures for gas,” he added.
The accord came less than 24 hours after Russia’s state-owned gas monopoly, Gazprom, said it would further reduce the amount of natural gas it sends to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Less than a week ago, it resumed limited flows after what it called an annual maintenance shutdown.
Unanimity was not required to pass Tuesday’s proposal, but all bar one of the 27 member states ended up supporting the compromise, diplomats involved in the process said.
The single country to vote against it was Hungary, which has emerged as a spoiler in the latest round of critical votes on topics relating to Ukraine. Still, the country wasn’t able to veto the deal.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has criticized natural gas sanctions against Russia, calling them a potential “nuclear bomb” on Hungary’s economy.
His country is 85 percent reliant on Russian gas deliveries, and the government has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.