EU energy ministers hold an extraordinary meeting Tuesday to discuss the bloc’s emergency plans to save natural gas for the winter amid the Russian threat to cut the gas supply.
“The winter is coming. We don’t know how cold it will be. But what we know for sure is that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will continue to play his dirty games in misusing and blackmailing by the gas supply,” Jozef Sikela, Czech trade and industry minister, told reporters on the way to the meeting in Brussels.
He said the Czech government, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, decided to convene an extraordinary meeting to discuss “how to save the gas consumption” as “we have to prepare our households and economies and we have to protect them.”
The European Commission presented last week its winter emergency plan, asking EU member states to cut their natural gas demand by 15% between August and March.
However, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, and the Greek Cypriot administration have already opposed the cuts, proposing amendments that would seriously water down the original plan.
On the way to the ministerial meeting, Kadri Simson, EU commissioner for energy, called the proposal a “politically motivated step” in response to Russia’s continued threat and explained the necessity of “preemptively reducing” the gas supply to the bloc.
The proposed cut would allow the EU member states to “continue the fill up our underground gas storage, which is right now at 66%, and this also allows us to reduce the future gap between supply and demand,” she said.