EU spending "abominable" $221 billion decided to get rid of Russia’s energy dependency

EU spends $221 billion to decide to ditch Russian energy dependency - 1

Europe has been dependent on Russian energy supplies for many years (Artwork: AFP).

The European Commission (EC) on May 18 announced a plan called “REPowerEU” worth USD 221 billion with the aim of getting rid of dependence on Russian energy in the future.

The European Commission has formulated the goal that the EU will reduce its consumption of Russian gas by 66% by the end of this year and by 2027 be completely independent of Moscow’s supply of renewable energy.

“Our goal is to become independent of Russian fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” said EU President Ursula von der Leyen.

Since Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine almost three months ago, the EU has been working to reduce its dependence on Russian energy. The alliance agreed to ban Russian coal in August and cut Russian gas imports from 40% last year to 26% this year.

The new plan will boost imports of liquefied natural gas from the US and Canada and increase pipeline flows from Norway.

The European Commission has also set up a platform that allows countries to buy energy together with the aim of reducing sales prices.

Ms von der Leyen said of the joint procurement program: “If Europe acts together, the Union will have a greater influence between the member states”.

The plan also highlights energy saving as the “fastest and cheapest way” to deal with the crisis. Europe will encourage people and businesses to limit their energy use – such as turning off lights and using less air conditioning – and believes these moves could reduce their demand for oil and gas by 5% in the short term.

In the longer term, the European Union will increase the target of at least 40% of its energy from renewable sources to 45%. The block plans to significantly reduce permit times for new renewable energy projects.