A European country facing an urgent gas shortage will be able to alert other EU Member States and trigger cross-border aid to assist them. An agreement to this effect was reached on the night between Wednesday and Thursday between the representatives of the Council and the Parliament.
The new rules ensure that the Member States follow a common, coordinated approach at a regional level for security of supply measures. The EU should thus be in a better position to prepare for crises and manage gas shortages.
For the first time, a principle of solidarity will apply. The negotiators agreed on the introduction of a mechanism that will be activated when a Member State indicates that cross-border intervention is necessary to overcome a severe crisis.
The supply of gas to the requesting Member State will then become a priority for the countries that provide assistance. This assistance from another state can only be activated as a measure of last resort.
Gas accounts for about a quarter of the EU’s energy needs. Current EU gas consumption is around 400 billion cubic meters per year and is expected to remain relatively stable over the next few years. The Union imports about 65% of its gas, mainly from Russia, Norway and Algeria.
The informal agreement reached last night still has to be formally adopted by the Council and Parliament before coming into force.