The EU agreement on reducing gas consumption is not seen

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Hungary qualified as “inapplicable” the agreement by which the European Union states agreed on Tuesday on a 15% reduction in their natural gas consumption, with exceptions for some member states, an agreement that follows a new decrease in Russian gas deliveries through the Nord pipeline Stream 1, reports AGERPRES, citing AFP.

“It is an unjustifiable, useless, inapplicable and harmful proposal that completely ignores national interests,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told the press.

“Will someone from Brussels explain to the Hungarians that there is gas in Hungary that households and companies cannot use? It is nonsense”, added the Hungarian official.

He also spoke about the “doubtful legal basis” of this agreement, reasoning that the security of energy supply belongs to the “responsibility of the national governments” of the EU states.

Among the 27 EU states, only Hungary voted against the agreement, for the adoption of which a qualified majority was sufficient in the EU Council.

The initial request of the European Commission was for the EU states to uniformly reduce their gas consumption by 15%, so that volumes of gas become available for deliveries to other member states, to help Germany in particular, a country highly dependent on gas Russian.

In the event of a suspension of gas supplies from Russia, volumes already significantly reduced by Moscow in retaliation after the sanctions imposed on it for its aggression against Ukraine, such a major shock to the EU’s first economy would inevitably have repercussions on the bloc as a whole community, hence the need for “solidarity”, motivated the European Commission.

However, this Brussels plan was received with criticism by several member states, especially those in the south of the EU. If in the end they voted for the compromise agreed on Tuesday, Hungary led by Viktor Orban and accustomed to conflicts with European institutions maintained its position, this also in the context in which Szijjarto was in Moscow last week to obtain an additional 700 million of cubic meters of the volume of Russian gas delivered by Russia to his country.

The agreement finally agreed provides that the member states will do “everything possible” to reduce their gas consumption by 15% between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023, compared to the average of the last five years.

This commitment is voluntary, but in case of a “risk of serious shortage” it will become mandatory, but the mechanism established as a compromise to overcome the opposition of reluctant states establishes a series of exceptions, in an attempt to adapt it to the realities of each country.