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Europe in energy crisis ahead of winter

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Oct 05, 2022 - 01:43 AM

ANKARA (AA) – Europe is in an energy crisis ahead of winter as Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine continues to threaten supplies.

The European Union is preparing for emergency situations and power cuts due to the looming energy crisis in winter, the bloc’s crisis management commissioner said on Tuesday.

“During the coronavirus pandemic we’ve learned that we should prepare ourselves before a crisis begins, and therefore we’re now trying to predict future crises,” Janez Lenarcic told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland media group.

The EU’s crisis management commissioner said they are working on various scenarios, anticipating that member states may need EU relief assistance due to the energy shortages or power cuts in the coming months.

“If only one state, or a small number of member states are affected by a minor incident such as a blackout, other EU states can supply power generators through us, as it happens during natural disasters,” Lenarcic said.

“However, if a large number of countries are affected, and EU states have to cap their emergency aid deliveries, we are (EU Commission) in a position to cover the needs from our strategic reserve,” he added.

Meanwhile, German lawmakers are calling for the closure of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France this winter due to Europe’s worsening energy crisis.

“Until spring, we should meet only in Brussels,” German CDU lawmaker Peter Liese said in a letter to EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola, adding that this would save on heating and energy costs.

Although Brussels, Belgium is the EU capital, the EU Parliament is headquartered in Strasbourg, near the French-German border.

MEPs hold plenary sessions in Strasbourg, while committee meetings, mini-plenaries, and daily administration take place in the EU capital Brussels.

Several German MEPs from various parties told the daily Bild that the energy and money spent for traveling for the meetings in Strasbourg are inappropriate in view of the growing energy crisis in Europe.

Serbia voices concern

Serbia’s president on Tuesday said his country has about 660 million cubic meters of gas for winter — enough for three months of consumption.

Aleksandar Vucic’s remarks came in Budapest in a joint press statement released after a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

Vucic said Serbia has warehouses filled with close to 380 million cubic meters of gas in Hungary, as well as 276 to 280 million cubic meters of gas in Banatski Dvor village of Serbia.

“I asked them to let us not fill the storage in Hungary up to 500 million, because of the money, in order to save part of the money, because that gas is expensive. This is not the gas we get from Russia for $400 each,” said Vucic.

“We will be able to withdraw a maximum of 6 million cubic meters per day from Hungary, and 4 million cubic meters from Banatski Dvor, which is 10 million per day. That is not enough for 100% consumption in only three winter months, but it certainly covers a significant part, 70% of consumption,” said Vucic.

He said Serbia managed to secure this amount of gas in only about two months.

On Monday, Orban said Hungary would help its southern neighbor Serbia with supplies if needed.

Serbia in July purchased an additional 500 million cubic meters (over 17.6 billion cubic feet) of gas from two Hungarian companies for €250 million ($252 million).

The gas was stored in two facilities in Hungary until Oct. 1, with 3 million cubic meters of the gas to be available per day until February, Orban noted.

European countries are facing high energy prices and gas shortages due to the ongoing Moscow-Kyiv war.

Russia has reduced supplies of natural gas to Europe, which the continent depended on for years to generate electricity and heat homes, in response to unprecedented Western sanctions.

Last month, it halted gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline indefinitely.​​​​​​​

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