The European Union’s (EU) High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell has asked citizens to turn down the heating in their homes, as one way for the bloc to cut its dependence on Russian gas amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
“The challenges we face are going to require a very tough stance and we have to be willing to pay the price,” Borrell stated, suggesting “European citizens lower the heating of their homes” as part of their “individual effort to cut gas consumption”, RT reported.
The statement from the EU official comes after the bloc unveiled a new round of sanctions against Russia and Belarus over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The new restrictions cut off a number of Belarusian banks from the SWIFT network, hit the Russian maritime sector, and impose restrictions on 160 Russian lawmakers and business people.
The EU currently imports 45 per cent of its coal, 40 per cent of its gas, and 27 per cent of its oil from Russia, with Borrell stating the bloc is taking steps to cut the “umbilical cord that unites our economy and the Russian one” to cut off the “flow that allows (Russia) to accumulate reserves with which to finance” the conflict in Ukraine.
The European Commission outlined on Tuesday a proposal to “make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030”. The bloc will begin by reducing EU demand by two thirds before the end of the year in response to Russia’s military activity.
“We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us. We need to act now to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for next winter and accelerate the clean energy transition,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday, as the plan was unveiled.