The European Union is refusing to pay for gas purchases in Russia in rubles and must prepare for gas supply disruptions, the European Commission and the French presidency of the Council warned after an emergency meeting of energy ministers from 27 countries in Brussels on May 2. .
Moscow is required to pay for purchases in rubles “Unilateral and unreasonable change of contracts, and it is legitimate to reject it”Said Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.
“97% of contracts (concluded by European companies) indicate the currency of payment, it is either the euro or the US dollar”, She clarified.
Kadri Simson said he was unaware of the opening of ruble accounts. “Payments are scheduled for mid-May, and most companies will abide by the rules of the contract”she assured. This was confirmed by the Minister for Ecological Transition of France Barbara Pompili, chairing the meeting “Readiness to perform contracts”.
“We must prepare for the suspension of supplies”warned the commissioner.
Several Member States have asked for clarification on ruble payments through the opening of a special account, and Kadri Simson has promised “Details to explain to companies what they can and can’t do”.
Poland and Bulgaria paid for the purchase with the currency stipulated in their contracts with the Russian gas giant Gazprom, and refused to open a second account in rubles. In response, the Russian gas company suspended supplies, believing that payment had not been made.
“No immediate supply risks”assured the commissioner. “But we will not be able to replace 150 billion m3 of gas purchased in Russia with other sources. It’s not stable “she confessed.
“We can handle the replacement of 2/3 of Russian gas supplies”she clarified.
Kadri Simson insisted on the need for member states to replenish their reserves, and Barbara Pompili stressed the need “Diversify methods of electricity generation and heating”.
“Europe must get rid of dependence on Russian fossil fuels”said Polish Minister Anna Moskova. “Our reserves will be 100% this winter”she assured. “American liquefied natural gas has started to flow through Lithuania, and we will supply gas from Norway via Denmark”she explained.
Completion of the oil embargo
The ministers also agreed to phase out purchases of Russian oil and oil products planned by the EU in order to exhaust European funding for the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. But no decision has been made.
“A new package of sanctions is being prepared, but this was not the topic of the meeting”said Barbara Pompili.
“We are working on a new package of sanctions”confirmed Commissioner Simson.
“A meeting of the board will be held in Strasbourg on Tuesday (all commissioners, ed. Note), in the margins of the session of the Verkhovna Rada, “And President Ursula von der Leyen will clarify what has been decided”she said.
The offer is “Completed and to be adopted by the commission on Tuesday”a European source told AFP.
“I think the Commission will propose a sixth package of sanctions tomorrow (Tuesday), including the seizure of Russian oil.”said German Minister Robert Habek.
The proposal will be submitted to member states for adoption on Wednesday. “I don’t know if it will work until the weekend”however, the German minister said.
If the 27 agree on the measure, the cessation of purchases of oil and oil products from Russia will be gradual, within six to eight months, but with immediate measures, including a tax on tanker transportation, a European official said.
The EU has already imposed an embargo on Russian coal and closed its ports to Russian ships, except for the transportation of hydrocarbons.
The main importers of fossil fuels from Russia (gas, crude oil, petroleum products and coal) are Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and France.
Along with the energy component, “Other Russian banks will leave Swift”Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Monday during a visit to Panama.
Several European diplomatic sources have pointed out this weekend that Russia’s most important bank, Oschadbank, which accounts for 37% of the market, should be excluded from Swift.
This interbank system is an important cog in global finance that allows you to transfer transactions quickly and securely.