Last week, the European Commission proposed a target for gas savings of 15 percent for each member state. In the first place, this is voluntary and member states have a lot of freedom to determine how they will achieve this goal.
In the event of an emergency, for example if gas supplies are interrupted or demand rises sharply, the commission wants to be able to intervene via a so-called Union Alert. Then Member States should be able to be obligated to take certain measures to reduce demand.
Many Member States share the concern
The government believes that this power does not belong to the European Commission, but to the European Council in which all governments are represented. Gitten says the Netherlands is not alone in this. “Many Member States” share concerns about how the union’s alert will be called.
European Union energy ministers will meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the proposal. According to Gettin, at least the majority of member states seem to support its principles.
As far as the government is concerned, the savings target could have been a little higher than 15 per cent. The Netherlands has already reduced its gas consumption by about a quarter this year compared to 2021. As a result, dependence on Russia has also decreased significantly.
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