Von der Leyen warns of potential gas shortages for Europe next winter
The EU risks finding itself short of gas in 2023. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said this at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday. Gas supply risks becoming "even more challenging" next winter for Europe.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has been doing all it can to reduce its imports of fossil fuels from Russia - mainly gas - as quickly as possible. Moscow in turn curtailed its supplies, which is seen as retaliation for Western sanctions following the war.
If Russia completely shuts off its gas supply to the EU, global liquefied natural gas (LNG) would be in short supply. Moreover, if demand for LNG increases due to the economic recovery in Asia, the EU could face gas storage shortages of up to 30 billion cubic metres, Von der Leyen warned.
Swift action is needed, she argued. Among other things, Von der Leyen referred to a new proposal the Commission has put on the table to speed up authorisation procedures for the roll-out of renewable energy plants. That measure, she said, could help avoid potential shortages.
The Commission president also said it was important to continue supporting the European industry in these economically challenging times. She cited, for example, the Commission's decision to relax state aid rules.
© BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK