Following compromise agreements to cap decreases for some nations, European Union members preparing for further reductions in Russian gas supply on Tuesday agreed a weaker emergency plan to reduce demand.
From Wednesday, when Russia’s Gazprom has announced it will reduce flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to a fifth of capacity, Europe will face a tighter gas supply.
Brussels is advising EU members to save gas and store it for the upcoming winter, as a dozen EU nations are already experiencing reduced Russian supply due to sanctions over the Ukraine war.
Energy ministers agreed a plan calling on all EU nations to voluntarily reduce their gas consumption in the months of August through March by 15% from the average for the years 2017 through 2021.
In the event of a supply shortage, the cuts might become legally mandatory if the majority of EU nations concur. However, members decided to exclude a number of businesses from the mandatory 15% decrease.
The agreement, according to German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, will demonstrate to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Europe is still one. Habeck retorted, ‘You won’t split us.’