Paolo Gentiloni, the European Union’s Economy Commissioner, stated on Saturday that the European Union was “well prepared” in the event of a complete halt in Russian gas deliveries, owing to storage capacity and energy-saving measures.
“We are well prepared to resist Russia’s extreme use of the gas weapon,” he told reporters on the sidelines of The European House – Ambrosetti’s economic forum.
“We are not afraid of Putin’s decisions; we are asking the Russians to honor contracts; if they do not, we will respond,” he said.
The Nord Stream pipeline, which connects Russia to northern Germany and was scheduled to reopen Saturday after a three-day maintenance shutdown, will be “completely” shut down until a turbine is repaired, according to the Russian gas giant Gazprom.
Moscow was reacting to the G7 countries’ decision on Friday to target Russia’s energy windfall by agreeing to cap the price of its oil.
Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, said Friday that “it would be time” to set a price ceiling for gas imported from Russia via pipeline, echoing a proposal made by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
“Gas storage is currently at around 80% in the European Union, thanks to supply diversification,” Gentiloni said, though the situation varies by country.
He stated that while Brussels had “done a lot in recent months,” “it is now possible to do more.”
He explained that the goal is to “pursue the strategy of a united Europe that works against the invasion of Ukraine using economic weapons.”
“We are not involved in the war, and we are not involved in the military escalation,” he said.
“We are assisting Ukraine.” We must do it more effectively now.”