European Union countries bracing for further cuts in Russian gas supply on Tuesday approved a weakened emergency plan to curb demand, after striking compromise deals to limit reductions for some countries, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Energy ministers approved a proposal for all EU countries to voluntarily cut gas use by 15% in the August-March period from the average from 2017-2021. read more
The cuts could be made binding in a supply emergency, provided a majority of EU countries agree. But members agreed to exempt numerous industries from the binding 15% cut.
The EU deal would exempt from the binding 15% gas cut Ireland, Malta and Cyprus. These countries are not connected to other member states' gas networks and therefore could not share spare gas if needed.
Countries with a limited ability to export gas to other EU countries can request a lower target, provided they export what they can. That could include Spain, which does not rely on Russian gas and had initially opposed the plan.
"Everyone understands that when someone asks for help, you have to help," Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said.
Countries that overachieve an EU target for filling gas storage by August could also face weaker targets, potentially softening cuts for roughly a dozen states with relatively full storage, including Germany and Italy.