How EU countries could cut off the remaining Russian gas imports

The Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline and the transfer station of the OPAL gas pipeline, the Baltic Sea Pipeline Link, in Lubmin, Germany, on July 21, 2022.
The Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline and the transfer station of the OPAL gas pipeline, the Baltic Sea Pipeline Link, in Lubmin, Germany, on July 21, 2022. Copyright Markus Schreiber/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved
By Doloresz Katanich with Reuters
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A new proposal would make it easier for EU member states to phase out Russian gas completely.

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A new EU proposal would give member states the power to stop companies in Russia and Belarus from accessing European pipelines and LNG terminals, partially or completely, the Financial Times reported citing a draft legal text proposed by Brussels.

If adopted, EU energy companies could have a legal basis to get out of contracts with Russian gas providers without having to pay compensation, writes the report citing a senior official of the EU. 

The proposal comes as the EU is trying to phase out Russian gas completely from the bloc by 2027, without an outright ban on Russian gas imports. 

EU gas imports from Russia have been decreasing ever since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

However, one-tenth of the total gas imports of the EU still come from Russia. 

In fact, data shows that the bloc's purchases ofliquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia have soared between January and July in 2023 compared to the pre-war levels. 

Member states have different positions, while the Netherlands has taken a firm approach against Russian gas shipments, Belgium, Spain and France are still allowing the import and export of Russian gas, saying that it is difficult for their companies to leave the existing contracts.

The negotiators from member nations and the European Parliament are expected to endorse the preliminary text on Friday, the FT report added.

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