EU sounds alarm over Russian gas supply
Russia has done far more to build resilience to Western sanctions than the European Union has to improve its ability to survive disruptions in the gas supply chain, the EU high representative for foreign affairs said on Sunday.
Writing in his weekly blog, Josep Borrell accused Moscow of using energy supplies for “political purposes” and suggested that any further measures against the Kremlin will have serious blowback effects for the EU, including a reduction of gas available to the bloc. His comments came ahead of a meeting of the EU-US Energy Council, due to be held on Monday, in America.
“Energy prices have surged due to global supply and demand issues,” Borrell wrote. “With the severe crisis that we are currently going through with Russia, it has become not only a price issue but also a matter of security of supplies.”
According to the Eurocrat, over 40% of EU gas imports come from Russia, while the EU provides over 60% of Russia’s import revenues.
“However, in recent years, Russia has enhanced its resilience against economic sanctions, by increasing its foreign currency reserves, more than we have done to enhance our capacity to face potential gas supply cuts,” he explained, calling on the bloc to begin developing EU strategic gas reserves and boost investment in renewable sources of energy.
In the last three months, Moscow has been threatened by Western nations with the possibility of hard-hitting sanctions, following fears that it is planning an invasion of Ukraine. Russia stands accused of placing more than 100,000 troops on the frontier, with some believing that this is a sign of an upcoming military incursion. This claim has repeatedly been denied by the Kremlin.
However, despite serious rhetoric, the media has suggested that the EU is not unanimously in agreement over potential measures. Last month, America’s Bloomberg news agency reported on a German demand that proposed measures do not include restrictions on energy, insisting that the sector be exempted. This follows threats by Washington to impose serious restrictions on Russian banks and their ability to trade in US dollars, which could jeopardize international energy transactions.