Russia could cut off gas supplies to Europe in retaliation for sanctions and the region’s support for Ukraine, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned.
- French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says Europe must prepare for a total cut-off of Russian gas.
- The French government is working to avoid energy shortages, the minister said.
- EU countries will discuss winter contingency plans later this month to ensure there is enough gas to meet heat and energy needs.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Europe must prepare for the complete closure of Russian gas supplies in retaliation for the region’s sanctions against the Kremlin and support for Ukraine.
“Let us prepare for a total cut-off of Russian gas,” Le Maire said at an economic conference in Aix-en-Provence, southern France, on Sunday. “That’s the most likely scenario today.”
France must be “very careful” in its energy consumption, build up gas reserves, reduce bureaucracy that slows down the development of renewable energy, and accelerate its program to build new nuclear reactors, the finance minister said. The country must also make plans to limit the energy consumption company for business and region to ensure that companies like glass producers are spared irreparable damage, he added.
The government “is trying to do everything necessary to avoid” energy shortages, Le Maire said. “Because of the energy crisis, because of the war in Ukraine, we may be facing a difficult time, which means we must be prepared.”
EU countries will discuss winter contingency plans at an emergency meeting on July 26 in an attempt to ensure that there are sufficient gas reserves to cope with the peak load of heat and electricity. The industry has warned that the winter could become even harsher if Moscow stops flowing, given limited opportunities to import gas from elsewhere.
France’s energy challenge is exacerbated by repairs to some of Electricite de France SA’s nuclear reactors, which are set to drop production to the lowest level in more than three decades. On Saturday, EDF’s outgoing chief Jean-Bernard Levy warned that this winter could bring energy irritation to Europe.
The country is seeking to expand an energy tariff shield beyond the end of 2022 to mitigate its poorest households from rising wholesale prices, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Saturday.
Le Maire said the government’s planned nationalization of EDF – which is already 84% state-owned – would streamline decision-making and strengthen France’s energy dependence. The minister said he would provide details on the nationalization in the coming weeks, while the process itself “will take months.”
The minister said he had already had lengthy discussions with EU competition director Margrethe Vestager on the matter, and said he would resume these negotiations.
-With the assistance of Caroline Connan.
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The French minister says Russian gas cuts are most likely
Source link The French minister says Russian gas cuts are most likely