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22 February 2022

How Europe is dependent on Russian gas

Russia accounts for 65 per cent of Germany’s natural gas imports and almost 40 per cent of the EU’s.

As Vladimir Putin moves Russian troops into two self-proclaimed breakaway Ukrainian states, European countries are working to co-ordinate a response.

Sanctions are one of the key options available but while the EU, US and UK are in agreement that they are necessary, countries are divided on the details.

One key factor in this conversation is Europe’s dependency on Russian gas. Almost 40 per cent of EU natural gas imports in 2020 came from Russia, with some countries reliant on it for close to all of their natural gas needs. Some major European economies, among them Germany and Italy, are heavily dependent, with Russian supplies accounting, respectively, for 65 per cent and 43 per cent of imports in 2020.

The EU has said that it will announce a sanctions package this afternoon (22 February), with its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, saying he was expecting a “unanimous decision”. The UK has also announced measures, with five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals targeted.

The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said on 22 February that his country has taken steps to withdraw its certification for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pipeline, whose construction has been completed, would allow delivery of gas from Russia to Europe through the Baltic Sea.

[See also: How the energy crisis could reinforce Europe’s gas addiction]

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