EU crisis: EU27 countries fall apart again, in talks yesterday and today

UK escapes forced EU energy cuts this winter, thanks to Brexit

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2022

Von der Leyen’s draconian plans to stop a cold EU winter are rejected in Brussels meeting

Yesterday Putin’s Russia announced it was cutting the normal gas supplies to the EU to 20% of their normal level.

At the same time in Brussels the EU27 Ambassadors were meeting to try to agree a common plan to slash energy consumption this winter. Several countries were deeply opposed to the EU Commission’s plans and it is certain that these will be vetoed today at the Energy Council meeting of ministers of the EU27.

Facts4EU.Org predicts there will be a severely watered down agreement in order that the EU can claim ‘unity’ and ‘solidarity’, whilst making exceptions for a number of countries. Not a common plan at all, in other words.

Below we summarise the EU’s energy situation using official statistics and highlight the differences between the approaches of the EU’s member countries to avoid the lights and heating going out across the EU this winter.

How does the EU power itself?

One thing is clear – there are dramatic differences in the mix of energy sources across the EU. Firstly we present the overall picture below.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

The EU’s energy mix as a whole

  • Oil : 34.5%
  • Gas : 23.7%
  • Renewables : 17.4%
  • Nuclear : 12.7%
  • Solid fuels (coal etc) : 11.5%

The majority of the EU’s energy is imported.

[Source: Latest Eurostat official figures, released 14 Apr 2022.]

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2022 - click to enlarge

The overall energy mix masks wild variations between countries

The EU imports most of its energy – 58% in 2020. However the shares of the different energy sources in the total energy available vary considerably between Member States.

Petroleum products (including crude oil) account for a significant share of total energy available in Cyprus (87%), Malta (86%) and Luxembourg (60%), while natural gas accounts for 40% in Italy and 38% in the Netherlands.

Renewables have the highest share in Sweden (49%) and Latvia (40%), while nuclear energy makes up 41% of energy available in France and 25% in Sweden and Slovakia respectively. More than half of energy available in Estonia (53%) and 41% in Poland comes from solid fossil fuels.

Brexit Britain escapes, but the energy row is heating up in the EU

As we reported last week on Thurs 21 July 2022, Ursula von der Leyen’s EU Commission was planning to impose mandatory caps on the use of some forms of energy by member countries, reducing gas consumption by 15% from August to March next year. This would also have involved ‘energy sharing’.

Poland refuses to sink to its knees before the EU Commission

“We cannot agree to this. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta are also against such solutions, and there are other countries that have objections to individual provisions of this document.”

“We can talk about voluntary mechanisms, we can talk about saving in individual countries, as does the International Energy Agency, encouraging countries to save by presenting a package of proposals that, on the one hand, reduce consumption, and on the other hand, have a very specific impact on the bills of individual residents.”

“It is difficult to discuss the obligatory mechanisms prepared in a few days, you can say on your knees, by the European Commission".

- Anna Moskwa, Polish Minister of Climate and Environment, Warsaw, 25 July 2022

This plan has in effect been rewritten by the current rotating presidency of the EU Council, after adamant rejections from some countries. An agreement will be reached today, following the meeting of the 27 energy ministers, but it will not be the deal proposed by Ursula von der Leyen.


The United Kingdom is capable of being fully energy independent, if it chooses

We have ample reserves of North Sea oil and natural gas, an eyesore of wind farms off our coasts and across some otherwise beautiful countryside, and an as yet untapped resource of shale gas in many areas.

We also have the potential to build dozens of mini-reactors for nuclear energy, thanks to technology developed by Rolls-Royce and others.

Instead we import energy, including electricity from France.

All these things take time to build and be put online. If we don’t want to end up like the EU we should start taking action immediately.

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[ Sources: EU Commission (Eurostat) | EU Council | Polish Ministry of Climate and Environment ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Tues 26 July 2022

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