EU ministers meet to discuss gas curbs

STORY: Europe faces an increased gas squeeze from Wednesday (July 27), when Russian's Gazprom has said it would cut flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to a fifth of capacity.

With a dozen EU countries already facing reduced Russian supplies, Brussels is urging countries to prepare by saving gas and storing it for winter for fear Russia will completely cut off flows in retaliation for Western sanctions over its war with Ukraine.

Energy ministers are meeting to approve a proposal for all EU countries to cut gas use by 15% from August to March. The European Commission, which proposed the measure last week, said it would make the cuts binding in a supply emergency.

"Fifteen percent will probably not be enough, given what the Russians have announced, a further reduction in their gas supplies through Nordstream 1, but it's better than not having it and I think the signal that it sends is also important to our citizens and to the wider world," said Irish Transport and Environment Minister, Eamon Ryan.

Estonian Economic Affairs Minister, Riina Sikkut, added that if EU member states "all put in the effort that is asked, we will do enough to successfully survive the winter," but warned that in the future, losing all dependence on Russian energy is "essential".

Member states have resisted the plan and redrafted it to exempt and reduce the gas cuts for numerous countries and industries. Spain, Estonia, Greece and Poland's ministers were among those optimistic a deal would be struck on Tuesday.

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