EU 'made themselves dependent' on Russian gas says Portillo
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Earlier this week, the bloc announced fresh curbs on Russian imports, with a view to decrease its dependence natural gas from Russia. However, its plans do not go as far as those of the UK or the US.
Alex Balfour, chief executive of Balfour Capital Group, tweeted this morning that “one has to marvel at the EU PR machine”.
He wrote that the EU “portrays itself as a leader in this fight against Russia, yet has systemically shied away from defence spending for decades”.
Mr Balfour lamented that the bloc was “STILL handing over” vast sums to Russia for oil and gas every day, adding: “Talk about hypocrisy.”
According to Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment, the EU spends about $118million (£89.7million) a day on natural gas from Russia, and $285million (£217million) on oil.
Together, that amounts to roughly €365million (£306million) per day.
On Tuesday, the EU announced plans to cut Russian gas consumption by two thirds before the end of the year, with a view to being “independent” from the country’s fossil fuels “well before” 2030.
Currently, the EU draws 45 percent of its gas supply from Russia, and 25 percent of its oil imports.
The bloc was previously criticised for having become reliant on an aggressive country for its energy supply last year, amid a global shortage.
At the time, Putin was accused by European leaders of artificially manipulating supply to the EU to drive up prices.
Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, said: “We must become independent from Russian oil, coal and gas. We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us.
“We need to act now to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for next winter and accelerate the clean energy transition.
“The quicker we switch to renewables and hydrogen, combined with more energy efficiency, the quicker we will be truly independent and master our energy system.”
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However, conspicuously missing from the EU’s latest announcement was a plan to cut oil imports from Russia.
Meanwhile, the UK and US announced a joint plan the same day to ban Russian oil and gas imports by the end of this year.
The economic sanction will be far easier for the two nations. The US has its own supply of oil and gas, whereas the UK imports 8 percent of its oil from Russia and just 4 percent of its natural gas.
The UK will source the necessary supplies from its own production, the Government said, as well as other countries such as Norway and the US.
Boris Johnson said that the move would be “another economic blow to the Putin regime” which built on the “severe” sanctions already in place.
He added: “Working with industry, we are confident that this can be achieved over the course of the year, providing enough time for companies to adjust and ensuring consumers are protected.”
Joe Biden said that the measures would target “the main artery of Russia’s economy”.
The EU had already made in-roads to weaning itself off of Russian gas, after it cancelled the Nord Stream 2 pipeline – which would have funnelled gas directly into Germany.
Certification of the pipeline had been something Russia had been doggedly vying for, as like its predecessor Nord Stream 1 would have circumvented Ukraine altogether.
However, questions remain over where the EU will find the necessary supply of fossil fuels now.
Earlier this week, Jennifer Granholm, the US Energy Secretary, said that America was in “active discussions with our allies” over oil supply, alluding to the predicament the EU is currently in.
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