Sun | Aug 7, 2022

EU chief warns of danger of complete cut-off of Russian gas

Published:Wednesday | July 6, 2022 | 2:09 PM
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers her speech at the European Parliament during the presentation of the programme of activities of the Czech Republic's EU presidency, Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the 27-nation European Union needs to make emergency plans to prepare for a complete cut-off of Russian gas in the wake of the Kremlin's war in Ukraine.

“It is obvious: (Russian President Vladimir) Putin continues to use energy as a weapon. This is why the Commission is working on a European emergency plan,” she told legislators in Strasbourg, France.

The EU has already imposed sanctions on Russia, including on some energy supplies, and is steering away from Kremlin-controlled deliveries.

But the head of the EU's executive branch said the bloc needed to be ready for shock disruptions coming from Moscow and said the first plans would be presented by the middle of the month.

“If worst comes to worst, then we have to be prepared,” she said, hoping to avoid the chaotic scenes and the my-country-first attitude that some member states showed early on in the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Energy, and the prospect of a winter without enough heating for homes or power to keep factories going, could now pose a similar challenge to EU solidarity and a source for populist-spawned division.

“It is very important to have a European overview and a coordinated approach to a potential complete cut off of Russian gas,” von der Leyen said.

A dozen members have already been hit by reductions or full cuts in gas supplies as the political standoff with Moscow over the Ukraine invasion intensifies.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.