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8 Dec, 2023 14:59

EU may allow member states to ban Russian gas – FT

Draft legislation has reportedly already been prepared by Brussels
EU may allow member states to ban Russian gas – FT

The EU may allow member states to unilaterally end gas imports from Russia, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing draft legislation.

According to the document, the measure would give any member state the power to “partially or, where justified, completely limit” or block Russian and Belarusian companies from buying capacity in European pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.

The legislation is expected to be approved by representatives of member states and the European Parliament later on Friday. According to a senior EU official, the measure would allow the bloc’s energy companies to terminate contracts with Russian gas suppliers without paying compensation.

EU sanctions imposed on Russia by Brussels over the Ukraine conflict do not target Russian gas supplies directly. However, due to various other restrictions and the general drive within the bloc to cut dependence on Russian energy, Russian gas flows to the region have dropped significantly over the past 22 months. While the sanctioned country covered around 40% of the bloc’s gas needs prior to February 2022, in the third quarter of 2023, it supplied only around 12% of the EU’s total gas imports, according to statistics agency Eurostat.

The EU plans to completely phase out energy imports from Russia by 2027. However, many member states still greatly rely on gas flows from the sanctioned country – particularly Austria and Hungary. Last month, Russian LNG exports to the bloc hit the highest level in history – 1.75 million tons, with Spain and Belgium among the largest importers.

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