European Union (EU) flags in front of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, Germany, July 21, 2022.| Photo: EFE/EPA/RONALD WITTEK

The energy ministers of European Union (EU) reached a political agreement on Tuesday (26) to reduce gas consumption next winter, taking into account the threat of a complete cut in supply by Russia.

“It was not an impossible mission. The ministers reached a political agreement on the reduction of gas demand for the next winter”, informed the prime minister of the Czech Republic, Petr Fiala, who is in the presidency of the EU Council this semester.

Member States agreed to reduce gas consumption by 15% for the period from 1 August 2022 to 31 March 2023. The Council specified some exemptions and possibilities to request a derogation from the mandatory reduction target, to reflect the situations Member States and to ensure that gas reductions are effective in enhancing security of supply in the EU.

It was agreed that Member States that are not interconnected with the gas networks of other countries are exempt from mandatory gas reductions. Countries whose electricity grids are not synchronized with the European electricity system and rely heavily on gas for electricity production are also exempt, in order to avoid the risk of an energy supply crisis.