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EU energy ministers to discuss security of energy supply and preparedness for situation in autumn

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 25.7.2022 12.35
Press release

The EU energy ministers will meet for an extraordinary meeting of the Energy Council in Brussels on Tuesday 26 July 2022. The meeting will focus on the security of energy supply in the EU, particularly with regard to gas, and on preparing for the coming winter by reducing gas consumption.

Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä will represent Finland at the meeting. The ministers will discuss various ways to improve security of energy supply ahead of the upcoming winter. They will also discuss a preparedness package issued by the Commission on 20 July 2022 that would reduce the use of gas in the EU over the next two winters. The aim is to adopt the ‘Save gas for a safe winter’ package proposed by the Commission, although the opinions of the Member States are divided on the initiative.

Commission proposes 15 per cent reduction in gas consumption by Member States

The Commission proposes that Member States reduce their consumption of gas by 15 per cent compared to their average consumption in 2017−2022. Over the past ten years, Finland has reduced its gas consumption on market terms by as much as half. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, our use of gas has decreased even further, so Finland will not need to take immediate additional measures to meet the Commission’s target. Finland has not imported natural gas from Russia since May.

“The Commission has highlighted the measures taken by Finland to reduce the use of gas as a positive example. We have taken a wise, long-term approach to energy preparedness, but there is still work to be done. It is important for the EU to remain united now under Russia’s energy coercion,” Minister Lintilä says.

The gas situation is one of the main reasons for rising electricity prices in the EU. Finland is less dependent on gas than many other EU countries, as gas accounts for only about five per cent of total energy consumption in Finland. However, the EU’s joint preparedness and filling of gas storage leading up to the winter makes sense for Finland as well. Replacing gas with other fuels and taking measures to conserve energy in the spring and summer will make it easier to prepare for the winter.

Finland supports comprehensive preparedness at EU level

According to the Commission, the EU should also develop information exchange and market-based measures to reduce gas consumption. The EU countries should share best practices for prioritising the use of gas and reducing consumption.

Finland supports comprehensive EU-level preparedness for disruptions of the gas supply. However, it is important to take into account the expertise of the Member States regarding the situation in their countries. Measures to reduce gas consumption are the responsibility of the Member States, while the role of the Commission should focus on coordination and monitoring.

The Commission also proposes establishing a group responsible for joint purchasing of gas. Finland supports voluntary joint purchasing by the Member States. 

Hannes Torppa, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, +358 295 047 405
Nina Alatalo, Adviser to Minister (EU and International Affairs), Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 171
Elina Johansson, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 327

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