Earlier today, Germany activated the ‘alert level’ of the plan to secure its gas supply, which brings the country one step closer to rationing measures, in the wake of a 60% drop in supplies from Moscow via the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
In the immediate future, this will have no consequence for Belgium, explained Mr De Croo: the country’s reserves are higher than normal. “But the problem is wider: if EU countries were to face a problem because they depend on Russian gas, for example Germany, and the industry there was brought to a standstill or reduced, it would have a huge impact on the rest of Europe and especially on our country,” he warned.
This is why member states must “form a united energy bloc, finally make use of a policy of joint purchasing and be ready to activate the price cap brake”.
In his eyes, an energy load shedding plan would only be a “plan B”. “What I want now is plan A, and it will only work if we act as a united bloc.”
Without this, “incidents” are likely to occur next winter, according to Mr. De Croo. “And we could end up facing even higher prices, maybe even shortages.” The head of the Belgian government has been addressing this point at European summits for several months, and it is receiving more and more attention, according to him. “Everyone understands that if everyone thinks of themselves first, it will be at the expense of all of us.”
Alexander De Croo will put this subject back on the summit table on Friday morning, during the economic discussions. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Italian colleague Mario Draghi will also hold a new plea for a price cap on the wholesale gas market.