Belgium’s energy minister has warned that EU countries will face “five to ten” “terrible” winters if nothing is done to reduce natural gas prices.
Calls are mounting for an EU-wide cap on the price of gas and its decoupling from the price of electricity. EU states have been struggling with huge energy price hikes since key gas supplier Russia invaded Ukraine in February, triggering sanctions. But Germany says it is replenishing its gas stores faster than expected. Western countries backing Ukraine are trying to cut the amount of Russian gas and oil they import. Russia, which supplied the EU with 40% of its gas last year, has in turn restricted supplies.
The EU will encounter “major challenges” due to the sanctions it imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has said.
The issue was raised during Borrell’s interview with the Austrian newspaper, with journalists pointing out that many people in their country are “skeptical” about the anti-Russia measures. The diplomat claimed that the sanctions are working, and that “Russia is in trouble.” However, Borrell acknowledged that “of course, they are facing major challenges in the short term” because of the sanctions, and “there is no denying that the price of gas is rising.” According to the diplomat, European citizens “must be willing to pay the price for freedom.”