Greece & Spain Quick To Reject ‘Unfair’ EU Proposal To Cut Gas Use
Greece, Spain, and Portugal are already among what’s looking to be an ever-growing list of EU member states who don’t agree with the European Commission’s proposed 15% cut in natural gas consumption across the bloc.
Greek spokesman Ioannis Oikonomou told a press briefing in Athens on Thursday that the government “has submitted proposals and we continue to maintain that this direction can provide solutions.” Regardless of the Russian supply squeeze and EC President Ursula von der Leyen charging that Putin is “weaponizing” Russian energy in an attempt to blackmail Europe – and to punish the EU over anti-Russian sanctions – Greek Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas stressed that common households and businesses would be the first to suffer across the country. He said Athens would not conform to such a directive.
Skrekas explained that “70% of the natural gas imported by Greece is used to generate electricity, which means that any cuts would hit households and businesses.” Other EU national leaders have lately expressed similar concerns.
The EU executive in publishing its drastic consumption slash proposal on Wednesday noted that initial cuts would be voluntary cuts; however, in an unprecedented movel the Commission has requested that in the scenario of an EU-wide alert “when there is a substantial risk of a severe gas shortage or an exceptionally high demand of gas occurs, which results in a significant deterioration of the gas supply situation” – that it possess the power to impose mandatory reductions.
The government of Spain in particular has been out front in flatly rejecting that Brussels could exercise such power, even in an energy emergency. Spain’s Teresa Ribera, Minister for Ecological Transition, had this to say:
“Whatever happens, Spanish families will not suffer gas or electricity cuts in their homes and the government will defend the position of Spanish industry, which has paid a special price to guarantee the security of supply.”
Ribera stressed that Spain’s consumption has been within reasonable limits. “We want to help, but we also want to be respected,” she said.
She further stressed something previously echoed by Hungary’s Viktor Orban in relation to the supply crisis, saying “a disproportionate sacrifice cannot be imposed on us,” especially when “we have not been asked for an opinion”.
Europe continues to slit its own throat for American empire. I guess electricity cuts are worth it to hurt Russia for America. Kind of amazing this article leaves out the role of sanctions on Russia for causing this https://t.co/R8VVDfDAmt
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) July 20, 2022
However, European Commission’s “Save Gas for a Safe Winter” communique stressed it would take collective effort, per the document: “The European Union faces the risk of further gas supply cuts from Russia, due to the Kremlin’s weaponisation of gas exports, with almost half of our Member States already affected by reduced deliveries. Taking action now can reduce both the risk and the costs for Europe in case of further or full disruption, strengthening European energy resilience.”
But Greece and Spain’s quick responses have highlighted what will be at center of the fight for the proposed 15% cut proposed over the next eight months (and theoretically to start next month): some member states already consuming less will no doubt reject shouldering the burden of larger countries like Germany and France.
Meanwhile Italy and Poland too have become the latest on Thursday to question the collective rationing measures on the table. “Italy, Poland and Hungary have raised concerns about the European Union’s proposal for the bloc to cut its natural gas consumption, adding to Spain and Portugal’s public opposition to the plan,” Bloomberg reports.
Thu, 07/21/2022 – 12:25