President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has urged member states to cut their gas consumption by 15% between August and March 31, 2023, as fears of Russia turning off the taps completely grow.
“Today, we propose an emergency instrument on the basis of Article 122, with two objectives: one is every member state should reduce the use of gas, and our second objective is we provide a safety net for all member states,” von der Leyen said.
“On the [reduction] of gas use, in case we have a situation that deteriorates, like the full disruption of Russian gas, we trigger an EU alert, overall, for the European Union, we are asking the member states to reduce by 15% the gas consumption.”
Von der Leyen also accused Russia of “blackmailing” the EU by refusing to sell natural gas to various EU member states after the EU attempted to bankrupt Russia through sanctions.
“Russia is blackmailing us. Russia is using energy as a weapon. And therefore, in any event, whether it is partial, major cut off Russian, or total cut off Russian gas, Europe needs to be ready,” von der Leyen continued.
Russia’s countermeasures in response to being sanctioned took off in April when the Russian state-controlled gas company Gazprom completely cut off natural gas to both Poland and Bulgaria over their refusal to purchase gas using Rubles rather than Euros.
The EU had also accused Russia of blackmailing member states at the time.
Since then, things have only gotten worse for EU member states.
Just five days ago, French President Emmanuel Macron pleaded with businesses to practice energy “sobriety” and “consume less” due to a lack of Russian natural gas and because a series of totally avoidable critical infrastructure problems have decimated France’s esteemed nuclear sector.
“From now on, I will ask public bodies and all companies that can to consume less. We will create a program and try to use lighting less in the evenings. We are launching a load reduction and sobriety program,” Macron said.
“We have to prepare for a scenario in which we have to give up Russian gas completely.”
France is now considering turning off public streetlights as the rest of Europe prepares to be sent back to the stone age over the EU’s continued support of Ukraine.