Europe agrees weakened gas curbs plan

STORY: The EU has approved an emergency plan to curb its gas demand.

It was agreed Tuesday (July 26) after compromise deals were made to limit the cuts for some countries.

All EU member states will voluntarily cut gas use by 15% from August to March.

Those cuts could be made binding in a supply emergency.

But member states also agreed to exempt numerous countries and industries.

That after some governments had pushed back against the EU's original proposal to impose a binding 15% cut on every member.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck says the final deal still has teeth:

"This Council today, with its decision, has sent a strong, resolute signal against that, and I think this will also be heard in Moscow: Europe cannot be divided."

Europe faces an even bigger gas squeeze from Wednesday (July 27).

Russia's Gazprom said it would cut flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to a fifth of capacity.

The EU called the move 'politically motivated' but Gazprom blamed it on the need to stop the operation of a turbine.

Brussels is urging member states to save gas and store it for winter.

It fears Russia will completely cut off flows in retaliation for Western sanctions over its war with Ukraine.

Moscow provided 40% of EU gas before its invasion of Ukraine - which is calls a 'special military operation'.