The EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs will meet today in Brussels to discuss the war in Ukraine.
This will be the third such gathering since the invasion in late February. In their previous meeting, minsters agreed to further reduce the EU’s energy dependence on Russia. Following this, the European Commission pledged to reduce EU purchases of Russian gas by two thirds this year, through diversification of suppliers and an increase in renewable hydrogen production.
The EU and its allies have levied significant sanctions against Russia thus far, including the removal of several Russian banks from SWIFT. However, Brussels fears that dramatically limiting gas imports will spike energy prices, damaging the bloc’s economy. Almost half of EU gas imports are Russian, and alternative sources such as Norway have limited spare capacity. Furthermore, renewable hydrogen is unlikely to be price competitive in the medium-term.
Expect Ministers to further discuss the Commission’s pledge in today’s meeting. While it is improbable that the EU reaches its two thirds reduction goal, expect continued gas price spikes as Brussels attempts to find alternative energy sources and further invest in renewables.
Laurence is an Analyst and weekly contributor to The Daily Brief, he focuses on geopolitical and economic issues occuring in Europe and Eurasia.