France and Germany in talks with Vladimir Putin on Ukraine in the midst of the gas crisis
âWe continue to need Russian gas and we will probably need more than what has been contracted. This is why Spain is rightly proposing that negotiations be carried out not country by country, but as a whole, as has been done with vaccines, âhe told the newspaper El Pais.
âWe are facing an emergency situation. And the problem of gas supply has a geopolitical dimension, âhe added, making a veiled reference to strained relations with Russia.
Europe is heavily dependent on Russian supplies, with state-owned Gazprom providing the block with 35% of its gas. Despite this, joint energy purchase projects are likely to meet with opposition from some member countries.
Vladimir Chizhov, the Kremlin’s ambassador to the EU, told the Financial Times that gas supplies could be increased if Brussels stopped treating Russia as “an adversary”.
Record gas prices fell last week after Vladimir Putin suggested last week Gazprom could increase supplies and his deputy prime minister said cleaning up the controversial North Stream 2 pipeline would help ease the crisis.
On Wednesday, the commission will publish a “toolkit” for national governments to limit the impact of the price hike.
The measures should include a reduction in VAT on electricity bills, subsidies for the poorest households and long-term tariff regulations for the most vulnerable.
Separately, France, Finland, the Czech Republic and other central and eastern European countries have pushed for nuclear energy to be treated as a green investment under new EU rules.
They have long wanted the special nuclear treatment to help meet the EU’s climate goals, but soaring energy costs have given new impetus to the debate in a region heavily dependent on Russian imports.