EC recommends EU countries continue saving gas to secure supplies and stabilise markets

Gas savings by businesses and citizens across the European Union have made an important contribution to tackling the energy crisis, spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago, the European Commission (EC) said on February 27.

Collectively, the EU reduced gas demand by 18 per cent between August 2022 and December 2023, saving around 101 billion cubic metres of gas, the EC said.

These efforts go above and beyond the 15 per cent savings target which was agreed under emergency legislation adopted in summer 2022, and were essential to preserve stable supplies, stabilise energy markets in the EU, and show solidarity with Ukraine.

With the emergency legislation due to expire on March 31, and the situation more stable than it has been for the past two years, the EC is now proposing the adoption of a Council Recommendation on continued gas demand reduction measures.

This recommendation, which would need to be adopted by the Council of the EU, encourages EU countries to continue taking voluntary measures to maintain a collective 15 per cent gas demand reduction, compared to the average demand between April 2017 and March 2022.

The proposal will be discussed by Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson and EU energy ministers at the Energy Council on March 4.

“Thanks to the wide range of emergency measures put in place since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU’s energy outlook has improved: supplies are more diversified, more renewable energy capacity has been installed, and impressive energy savings have been made, with gas storages now at a healthier level,” the EC said.

“This has served to lower and stabilise prices across Europe,” it said.

Still, given the persistence of geopolitical tensions, tight global gas markets and the EU’s objective to completely get rid of Russian fossil fuels, continued energy savings are still necessary, the Commission said.

Continued gas savings will help sustain and improve the current market stability, including by facilitating the refilling of gas storage in spring and summer. They would also support the EU’s decarbonisation efforts.

The February 27 recommendation is based on the findings of a report reviewing the Gas Demand Reduction Regulation  and the second report on the EU’s Gas Storage Regulation.

On top of guaranteeing security of supply, both measures have contributed to stabilising energy prices, benefitting the competitiveness of the EU economy and reducing bills for citizens from the peaks seen in August 2022 after the Russian invasion, the EC said.

Please support The Sofia Globe’s independent journalism by becoming a subscriber to our page on Patreon:

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.