Russia gas cut sparks EU crisis: Italy on ‘state of alert’ standby – Germany turns to coal

Russia: EU 'completely wrong' to rely on gas says Timmermans

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Italy is reportedly considering triggering a “state of alert”, an emergency protocol which may involve gas rationing. Currently, the country is in an “early warning” state, but the Russian gas squeeze is looking like the country may be forced to move to the second emergency protocol level on a scale of three.

Rome’s Security Committee will meet at the ministry of ecological transition on Tuesday to mull over the state of “alert”, which could eventually result in the curbing of supplies to certain industries.

It comes after Italian energy giant Eni said it would only get half of the 63 million cubic metres per day it had requested from Russia on Friday.

On Wednesday, the company said that gas flow to Italy had been slashed by up to 15 percent by Russia on Wednesday, which reportedly worsened the following day.

Germany, which relies on Russia for 40 percent of its gas, has also urged its citizens and businesses to limit the use of gas to generate electricity.

The country has also been forced to burn more coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, as a result of the Russian gas cut.

Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck said: “That’s bitter, but it’s simply necessary in this situation to lower gas usage.”

This all comes after Gazprom, the Kremlin-controlled gas giant, announced it would slash deliveries to Germany on June 16, blaming the move on a “delayed return of gas compressor units from repair by Siemens”.

The company is sticking to its word as gas flowing through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline has plummeted.

Mr Habeck said that the squeeze has sparked a “serious” situation in Germany, warning that “every kilowatt hour helps” in his plea to Germans to limit consumption.

And while Gazprom blamed the delay to the return of the repaired equipment on western sanctions, Mr Habeck has unleashed fury at Putin for cutting off Europe’s gas.

Instead, Mr Habeck has argued that the move is a “political decision” from Russia, as well as a pretext for driving up gas prices.

Germany’s Vice-Chancellor said: “It’s obvious that Putin’s strategy is to unsettle us by driving up the price and dividing us.”

He added: “We won’t let that happen.”

But Janis Kluge, Senior Associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, has warned that there may be “no good measure” to limit the impacts of the gas cut.

He tweeted: “There is probably no good measure against it. I’m sceptical that embargo threats or price caps will get cheap gas flowing.

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“Germany has built itself a trap, and it will simply have to pay the price for not diversifying away from Russia earlier.“

Germany has repeatedly come under the spotlight for making itself overly reliant on Russian gas, getting around 40 percent of its gas from the country.

As has the whole of the EU, which collectively also gets 40 percent of its gas needs from Russia.

While yet to sanction gas amid Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, the bloc’s REPowerEU strategy does detail the plot to phase out Russian oil and gas imports by 2027.

Part of the plan involves sourcing gas from alternative producers.

And Italy appears to be making headway with the plan, striking deals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies to come from Algeria, Angola, the Republic of Congo, and Israel.

Eni also struck a deal with Qatar for the largest LNG project on Sunday.

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