world news The EU reached a draft agreement on Tuesday for member states to voluntarily reduce gas consumption by 15 percent from August to March. The burden will fall unevenly given that some countries are more dependent than others on Russian gas. But beyond what’s in the text, analysts say that countries that failed to heed the warnings about reliance on Russia – Germany especially – will have to do a lot of heavy lifting if they want to preserve European unity on the matter.
EU energy ministers approved this deal on July 26 to economise on gas – a necessary step to ensure the heating stays on this forthcoming winter – the same day Russia’s state-backed gas firm Gazprom announced it was cutting flows to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20 percent of capacity.
The gas demand cuts are voluntary but could be made mandatory if an “emergency” arises. And the deal contains numerous opt-outs and special exceptions for countries, like Spain and Ireland, that avoided dependence on Russian gas and have limited capacity to export it to other EU members.
In this way, the deal is a much watered down version of the 15 percent reductions across the board requested by the EU Commission in a plan outlined last week.