EU Commission alerts over fossil fuel ‘backsliding' as countries resort to coal

EU's emergency plan, based on 3 pillars, aims to diversify away from Russian fossil fuels, Von der Leyen says

2022-06-22 11:32:21

ANKARA

The EU Commission chief warned against "backsliding on the dirty fossil fuels," following some European countries such as Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, announcing they would turn to coal amid Russia's war on Ukraine hitting energy supplies.

In an interview with various European media outlets on Tuesday, the European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said, "We have to make sure that we use this crisis to move forward and not to have a backsliding on the dirty fossil fuels."

Noting that it is "a fine line," von der Leyen said, "it's not determined whether we are going to take the right turn."

On June 15, Russian energy giant Gazprom said some technical equipment sent to the German firm Siemens for maintenance had not yet been returned and warned that gas shipments through the Nord Stream pipeline would decrease.

Gazprom said that up to 67 million cubic meters per day of gas supply could be provided through the pipeline as of June 16 -- a 60% reduction.

The Netherlands, Germany and Austria announced that they would put into use their coal plants to reduce gas consumption with the aim of filling gas storage facilities.

She continued by affirming that the EU has emergency plans prepared which include a wide range of necessary steps.

"We have emergency plans in place that have the whole width of necessary steps from the efficiency element to energy saving, to prioritizing the needs. This hasn't been done intensively since the beginning of Russia's invasion in Ukraine, the trigger for all this," she added.

Saying that the EU's policy on energy is based on three pillars, the EU Commission chief said the "first one is diversifying away from Russian fossil fuels. This is my agreement with President Biden on additional LNG supply from the United States or my trip to Israel and Egypt to increase the gas natural gas supply to Europe."

"​​​​​​I think we are already in the process of getting rid of the dependency on Russian gas on these three pillars, diversification away to other trustworthy suppliers," she said.