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EU softens gas consumption curbs in sign energy crisis easing

(EurActiv, 28 Feb 2024) The European Commission has asked EU countries to keep curbing their gas use but softened the policy to be entirely voluntary, in a sign of optimism that the worst of Europe’s energy crisis is over.

European Union countries set a voluntary target in 2022 to cut their gas consumption 15% during winter months – one of numerous emergency measures passed after Russia slashed gas deliveries to Europe, triggering a crisis of tight supply and record-high prices.

The European Commission on Tuesday (27 February) recommended that countries continue to curb gas use by 15%, compared with average consumption during 2017-2022.

However, it removed an option, agreed in 2022, that could have made the 15% gas cut mandatory in a supply crisis.

EU diplomats said some countries viewed the policy as no longer necessary since the peak of Europe’s energy crisis has passed, and European countries have consistently slashed their gas demand since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

But they said few were outright opposed to the recommendation, and EU countries’ energy ministers were likely to accept it at a meeting next month.

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EurActiv, 28 Feb 2024: EU softens gas consumption curbs in sign energy crisis easing