From a senior official at EU ministers’ talks came the warning: “We are touching the limit of European solidarity at the moment it should come into force.”
Slovenia and non-EU Serbia have received some help with gas supplies but the EU states’ manoeuvring room is tight. Few have much stored gas to share. Neighbours couldn’t even turn on the taps for Bulgaria because they aren’t interconnected. Slovakia has raised hackles at the European Commission with plans to jumpstart a Soviet-era nuclear power unit it shut down as a condition for joining the EU. A spokesman in Brussels said that if the plant were re-opened, it would be a clear violation of Slovakia’s EU accession terms. Several central and southeast European countries have projects on the drawing board to link their pipeline networks. To pay for these they are seeking hundreds of millions of euros in EU assistance. France is keen to promote nuclear power but Europe is widely split on this.