The European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, assured today that the European Union (EU) “is prepared” for the interruption of Russian gas, after the announcement this Friday of a new gas pipeline cut Nord Stream 1, but that he expects Russia to honor his contracts.
This was stated by the EU Commissioner for the Economy in statements to the Italian media on the sidelines of the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio (northern Italy), where he also spoke of the price cap negotiation being “a really important turning point”.
He explained that it is now possible to do more “because the wall of divisions that has blocked the Commission’s action in recent months shows many fractures.”
“We expect Russia to respect the contracts it has, but even if the use of energy as a weapon continues or increases, the EU is ready to react,” he said.
The commissioner highlighted the great commitment of the European Commission to face the energy emergency, working “to make storage levels mandatory, which already exceed 80% in Europe and with the recommendation to reduce energy use by 15% “.
Gentiloni considered “significant that the president of the Commission and the economic G7 have taken political decisions in parallel that will now be implemented in a legislative and operational manner for a gas price cap and for an oil price cap.”
“The objective is obviously to continue with a strategy of a united Europe that works against the invasion of Ukraine using the economic weapon,” he added.
“We do not participate in the war, we do not participate in the military escalation, but we support Ukraine and we work in the economic field: however, now we must do it more effectively because the prices of gas and oil in Russia are financing the war” , he asserted.
On the other hand, he explained that “the prospects for inflation -growing throughout the Union- may improve despite a difficult context and that 2023 may be a more difficult year, from the point of view of growth, but that it is equally possible that start a decline in inflation in 2023.”
“What we have before us is not the inflation of the 70s and 80s, but rather it is mainly induced by energy prices”, stressed the commissioner, so “this could lead to an inflation that obviously from the next year obviously it does not return to the previous levels but falls with respect to the peaks”.
Regarding the possible changes in the National Plans for managing the European funds granted “to take into account the energy crisis”, as requested by parties such as Gorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, Gentiloni reiterated that small changes can be made but “we cannot afford the luxury of doing it all over again, for countries like Italy or Spain it is a race against time”.