The energy ministers of the EU countries agreed to exclude Russian gas from contracts for joint purchases, the volume of which in 2023 should be at least 15% of the volume of gas storages of the member states of the community, or 13.5 billion cubic meters. This is stated in the statement of the European Commission, distributed on the basis of an informal meeting held on Thursday in Brussels.
“The new rules will create opportunities for EU member states and their energy companies to purchase gas jointly on global markets,” – indicated in the document.
The European Commission notes that states are obliged to “purchase through this mechanism 15% of all gas necessary to fill their gas storage facilities in 2023.”
“Member countries emphasized that Russian gas will be excluded from joint purchases,” the statement says.
However, it does not specify the term “Russian gas”. It is not yet clear whether gas produced in Russia and purchased by EU countries through one or more intermediaries will be considered Russian.
“In practice, the countries of the European Union have agreed that gas companies in the EU countries and the states of the energy community will present [в Еврокомиссию] information about your gas needs. The European Union (meaning the European Commission – the main executive structure of the EU) will hire an intermediary who will calculate the general requests and look for proposals to satisfy this demand. Member countries will oblige companies to use the services of this intermediary in order to bring the volume of gas they purchase to 15% of their obligations to fill gas storage facilities in 2023 (approximately 13.5 billion cubic meters of gas as a whole in the EU)”, the document says.
This decision will still require official approval at a scheduled meeting of the EU Energy Council in December, but the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic presiding in the EU Council Josef Sikela announced following an informal meeting of EU energy ministers that the discussion on this topic was completed and the approval would take place without discussion.
Thus, the EU will actually oblige its gas companies to purchase this volume of gas not directly on the market, but through the mediation of the European Commission, similar to how the community purchased COVID-19 vaccines in 2020-2021. This decision means delegating by the EU countries to the European Commission another part of their sovereign functions in choosing energy suppliers.
The European Commission is trying to create a cartel of gas consumers in the European Union in order to reduce free competition in the market between the EU countries. According to European experts, with the onset of the gas crisis, the EC was forced to abandon its own ultra-liberal concept of gas trading in Europe, on the basis of which the current EU gas market was created in the period from 2009 to 2020. The basic postulate of this model was that the European Commission would be able to drastically reduce the price of gas in the EU market by achieving real competition between gas suppliers. It was under this pretext that the European Commission actively fought against Russian long-term contracts for gas supplies to the EU at fixed prices.
For this purpose, the third EU energy package was adopted, a large-scale antimonopoly investigation was carried out against Gazprom, which ended with the removal of all charges against Russian companies, the EU Gas Directive was adopted and adapted, which was supposed to make it as difficult as possible for Russian gas supplies to the EU countries via Nord Stream.
In practice, as representatives of the leadership of many EU states, primarily Hungary, are already bluntly saying, it was the European Commission’s gross mistakes in energy policy and the restructuring of the gas market that became the main cause of the current energy crisis in the EU.