Slovak MEPs Welcome EU's Initiative to Cut Itself off from Russian Gas

9. marca 2022 18:25
Strasbourg, March 9 (TASR-correspondent) - Slovak MEPs welcome a plan called REPowerEU proposed by the European Commission (EC) on Tuesday (March 8) in Strasbourg. The plan is to make Europe independent of Russian gas and other fossil fuels before 2030. MEP Robert Hajsel (Smer-SD) stated that the Russian aggression in Ukraine is forcing the EU to switch to more alternative sources of energy, such as renewable energy sources, but also to bigger savings by increasing energy efficiency. He added that diversification of gas suppliers means importation of liquefied gas from America, which means that Europe will have to complete terminals. However, not only EU countries but also gas suppliers should create sufficient supplies in advance. "It is most important for Slovakia to prepare itself and fill gas reservoirs in the autumn and to a greater extent than last year. At the same time, operation of coal-fired power plants need to be resumed in some countries, such as Germany and Poland," he said. MEP Michal Simecka (Progressive Slovakia/PS) admitted that the EC's plan creates a difficult situation both for the EU and Slovakia. "However, it is a war and reality has changed. The EU broke several taboos over the past couple of days and what was unimaginable two weeks ago is suddenly possible. We realise we must get rid of dependence on Russian gas and oil. By purchasing them, we finance the Russian regime and war with billions of euros," he explained. The question arises here as to how to make this step as soon and as painlessly as possible in terms of energy and food prices. "I believe that a kind of map will emerge in upcoming weeks on how to get to that point so that we can cut off our dependence on Russia. It is possible, but not from one day to another," he added. MEP Miriam Lexmann (Christian Democrats/KDH) said she has long called for the Union to break away from energy dependence on Russia and other non-democratic countries. "This is a question of our safety. At the moment this cooperation with Russia indirectly finances aggression in Ukraine," she said. Lexmann welcomes the EC's resolution to reduce dependence on Russian supplies to one third of the current level within a year. She stressed a need to seek long-term solutions, which also means building new infrastructure and a network of filling stations. She sees this possibility in transatlantic cooperation, bringing the Western world together and jointly reducing its dependence on Russian energies. Michal Wiezik (PS) stressed that gas is no longer just an ecological, but also a geopolitical problem. It was clear already a couple of weeks ago when gas prices started to grow. And now it is clear that Europe can no longer count on natural gas due to the war in Ukraine. This is the question of security and sustainability. He welcomed the REPowerEU initiative, but views halting Russian gas supplies overnight as dangerous, as the EU has no substitute for it yet. ko/mcs
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