EU drastically decreases energy consumption due to anti-Russian sanctions
LUCAS LEIROZ for INFOBRICS
As expected, anti-Russian sanctions are already having negative effects on European countries and directly affecting the lives of ordinary people.
Between August and November 2022, the EU reduced its use of natural gas by more than 20%, compared to the rates of the last five years. The data were published on the 20th of December as a result of a survey operated by Eurostat. According to EU officials, the reduction is indicative of the success of the European bloc’s attempts to decrease its dependence on Russian gas.
“The EU consumption of natural gas has dropped by 20.1% in the period August-November 2022, compared with the average gas consumption for the same months (August-November) between 2017 and 2021”, Eurostat report says.
Almost all EU states reported a reduction in gas consumption, with eighteen of them registering a drop of more than 15%, which was the target established by the bloc. The country that reported the highest rate of reduction was Finland, with a 52.7% drop in domestic utilization. Latvia (43.2%) and Lithuania (41.6%) also had high rates of drop, while, on the other hand, six states were below the 15% target. Malta (7.1%) and Slovakia (2.6%) were the only countries that witnessed an increase in consumption, absolutely failing to meet the European targets.
In fact, the 15% target does not seem in any way an easy thing to achieve. The value corresponds to a high volume of energy, which is definitely not “dispensable” for any country. However, this goal was the “consensus” among European politicians during the EU Council meeting in August, whose topic was the creation of a new energy regulation. The objective is to reach, in the period between August 2022 and March 2023, the lowest gas rates of the last five years. Thus, the bloc hopes that European economies will become less dependent on Russian supplies, ensuring the countries’ ability to initiate an era of energy containment.
Energy control is something that Europeans have been promoting for a long time. Containment policies serve the interests of those financial elites interested in developing the so-called “green” market, which is driven by capitalist environmentalism and the agenda of the World Economic Forum. However, the situation is now different, as it is not ecological reasons that drive this drastic decrease in consumption in the EU countries, but the simple fact that there is no longer an abundant and cheap source of energy for Europe.
This source has always been Russia, which, being a major gas producer and being geographically close to the EU nations, supplied the commodity without concerns about political or ideological alignment, focusing only on mutually beneficial economic cooperation. The EU, however, decided to adhere to the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the US, adopting an absolutely anti-strategic and irrational stance, which harms the interests of European citizens themselves.
With this, it is possible to say that the reduction of European gas use is not the result of a rational deliberation in search of improvements in the continent, but simply a desperate measure to try to keep the EU countries economically active amid the shortages in the gas supply. Energy instability is forcing countries to reduce consumption, having no real sovereign interest on the part of states in operating this reduction.
In the long term, these policies become truly unsustainable. Some countries are seeking alternative gas routes. States in the western part of the continent try to cooperate with France to obtain gas from the Sahel, while, on the other hand, US gas exports to Europe have become the main market for US energy companies. However, for states in the most central and eastern areas of Europe and with a large industrial volume, such as Germany, the absence of Russian supply seems unbearable, with no other way to guarantee true energy stability – especially during the winter.
But nothing seems to change the EU’s conviction that anti-Russian coercion is the best way to resolve the current crisis. The bloc recently approved a new sanctions package (ER: the 9th), including a price cap on Russian oil and refined products. Not even winter, which naturally demands an increase in gas utilization, appears to be an incentive for European leaders to review their strategies regarding Russia.
Indeed, what we can expect are two scenarios: either European states will reverse their anti-Russian policies independently, ignoring irrational EU recommendations, or citizens of these countries eventually will escalate mass protests, strengthening the Eurosceptic wave. In both cases, one thing is certain: at some point Europe’s passive submission to the US will come to an end.
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