The EU has found an alternative to a complete gas embargo from Russia: a new plan revealed by the FT
European Union (EU) member states may be authorized to halt gas imports from Russia and Belarus. If the initiative goes through, any EU state will be able to unilaterally deny Russian and Belarusian companies access to pipelines and LNG terminals.
A corresponding legal draft has already been presented in Brussels, as reported by the Financial Times (FT). According to a senior official, this proposal could become the basis for the early termination of contracts between EU energy companies and Russian suppliers without paying substantial compensation.
According to the document, EU member states will be allowed to "partially or, if justified, completely restrict" access to infrastructure for gas operators from Russia and Belarus "if necessary to protect their essential security interests." The final version of the draft law has yet to be approved by the European Parliament and all EU member states.
The publication notes that the EU has significantly reduced its dependence on Russian energy resources. However, Russian gas still accounts for a tenth of the total gas supply to the EU.
"Several member states, including Austria and Hungary, are still heavily dependent on Russian supplies. The European Commission wants to push member states to stop importing the remaining gas (from Russia and Belarus - Ed.). Some member states, including Poland and the Baltic states, are demanding tougher action against Moscow," the article says.
In essence, the European Commission (EC) has proposed an alternative to a direct embargo on Russian gas imports. Such a position could face resistance from several countries. The new option aims to encourage at least those countries that already have other supply options to abandon fuel from Russia.
The EC hopes that the EU will completely stop using gas from Russia by 2027. European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson has repeatedly called on EU governments to take a tougher stance, stating that they "must reduce Russian LNG exports to completely abandon them."
The main challenge now is that Belgium and Spain became the largest importers of Russian LNG in 2023 (after China). The Netherlands has banned new contracts for the transshipment of Russian LNG, but Belgium, Spain, and France continue to import and re-export Russian gas, arguing that it is difficult for their companies to withdraw from existing contracts. If the new rules are adopted, this argument will become untenable.
As reported earlier by OBOZ.UA, three major Greek shipping companies stopped transporting Russian oil. The decision was made to avoid US sanctions that apply to some shipping companies transporting oil from the aggressor country.