The European Commission on Wednesday asked member states to reduce their gas consumption by 15% from August 1 this year to March 31, 2023, to ensure they can cope in the event of a full gas shutdown.
The voluntary measure is part of the long-awaited ‘Save Gas for a Safe Winter’ plan unveiled in Brussels amid concerns the EU will struggle not only to fill gas storage capacity before the start of winter, but also ensure sufficient additional supplies.
The objective, according to the Commission, is to ensure supplies to households and essential consumers such as hospitals and key industries, while also encouraging all economic actors, including citizens, to think about their own behaviour.
Commission head Ursula von der Leyen stressed that although some member states were more directly exposed to Russian gas and therefore more vulnerable to disruptions, all member states would “suffer” if the bloc did not act together on the internal market and the economy and thus on employment.
Countries requesting solidarity gas supplies must demonstrate the measures they have taken to reduce domestic demand. The proposed legislation would also give the Commission the power to issue a “Union Alert” on security of supply and impose mandatory gas demand cuts on all Member States if they do not make enough cuts voluntarily.