- A handful of EU countries say they have enough reserves to wean themselves off Russian energy.
- But a bloc-wide ban on Russian supplies remains elusive and must be unanimously supported.
- Germany, Poland and Bulgaria all signaled a move away from dependence on Russia for energy.
As EU countries scramble to wean themselves off Russian energy, a few member states have indicated that they are looking at alternative sources of oil, coal or gas and will not need to rely on Russia for long.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24 Efforts have been stagnant for a long time To reduce the mass’s dependence on Russian energy. But this dependence is deep: Russia supplied 41% of natural gas to the EU in 2019, BBC mentioned.
Poland and Bulgaria released challenging data this week after Russia to cut their gas supply. On Wednesday, the two countries, despite their heavy reliance on Russian energy, said they could Sufficient alternative source.
“Bulgaria will not negotiate under pressure with its head down,” said Bulgarian Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov, the news outlet. Novinet mentioned. “Bulgaria does not give up and is not sold at any price to any trading party in return.”
The Austrian government also said on Wednesday it would continue to buy Russian energy but was defending alternative sources to meet its needs. Reuters mentioned.
The next day, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said his country had oil for three months, gas for two months and nuclear reserves for two years, the Czech port. Aeroslas mentioned.
But while the Czech Republic does not buy directly from Russia’s Gazprom, it relies heavily on energy that Russia sells through Western markets, the outlet reported.
Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania were the first EU countries to cut themselves off from Russian gas on April 1, using Latvia’s underground reserves to meet demand, uractive mentioned. Days later, Finland announced that it was on its way to replace Russian gas sources by the fall, port I also mentioned.
And German officials indicated, on Wednesday, that the country is preparing to stop buying Russian oil, as long as it has enough time to secure alternatives, The Wall Street Journal mentioned.
A blanket ban won’t happen overnight
For those countries that do not have immediate alternatives, the transition is unlikely to occur quickly. Germany, for example, depends on Russia for about a third of its gas needs. Reuters mentioned.
And while Germany wields enormous influence in the European bloc, all 27 member states must agree to a complete ban, and some are slowing down.
Hungary, whose authoritarian leader Viktor Orban owes widespread loyalty to Putin, is one of the countries most dependent on Russian natural gas. Orban also suggested that he would accept a major Russian request to pay Gazprom, Russia’s main gas supplier, in rubles for its supplies, Deutsche Welle mentioned.
The question remains whether any embargo – even with the United States and the European Union united in their refusal to buy Russian energy in wartime – could really be effective.
On Wednesday, Bruegel, an economic think tank in Brussels, released a Report He said it wouldn’t be.
So far, the group wrote, the higher prices caused by the change in demand from Europe have more than offset Russia’s losses.
“Only an immediate and complete blockade would significantly reduce Putin’s revenue,” the group wrote. She said this is unlikely given that major economies, such as China, are showing no sign of participating.
Instead, the group recommended tariffs on energy imports that could be adjusted to put economic pressure on Russia.