The leaders of the European Union are preparing for a further reduction of gas supplies from Russia, looking for ways to cushion the effects of the crisis and the increase in energy prices, writes Bloomberg, quoted by Ziarul Financiar.

The impact of the invasion of Ukraine and Russia’s use of energy as a weapon of war were the main topics at the meeting of EU leaders, after cuts to Russian gas shipments affected 12 member states and pushed Germany into a state of energy alert.

“If Germany declares from now on that they will have a gas shortage in the winter, the impact will be enormous for them and for all other European countries,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told reporters in Brussels on the second day of the summit.

EU leaders are preparing for a further cut in gas supplies from Russia

A day earlier, as leaders began arriving in Brussels, the bloc’s biggest economy warned that Russia’s moves to cut gas supplies to the EU risked causing a collapse in energy markets, drawing a parallel to the role of Lehman Brothers in the outbreak of the financial crisis a few years ago. Supply problems have already pushed gas and energy prices to record levels.

“The notion of cheap energy has disappeared. Likewise, the notion of Russian energy has also disappeared. Currently, we are all in the process of securing alternative energy sources for the European space,” said Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins. “This is the result of the war that Russia is waging in Ukraine – it causes difficulties for all of us, but in the end we will all come out much stronger.”

The supply situation is driving up the cost of electricity across Europe, fueling inflation and increasing the economic burden on businesses and households still trying to recover from the pandemic.

The supply situation is driving up the cost of electricity across Europe

The nervousness on the energy markets is exacerbated by the uncertainties related to the Kremlin’s next move. The Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, said that the decision to close or not the gas tap is exclusively in the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s move to tighten supply controls comes as Europe tries to fill gas reserves ahead of the next heating season, which usually starts around October. The block’s gas reserves were 55 percent full on June 22, compared to the five-year seasonal norm of 57 percent for this time of year. The goal is to reach 80% by November 1 to avoid problems during the winter, writes Mediafax.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters in Brussels that the member states are “well prepared” for the challenge, however, an acceleration of the effort to diversify the energy infrastructure is necessary to face the near future.

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