European Commission chief calls on Europeans to save energy

Ursula van der Leyen calls on Europeans to save energy

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, has urged Europeans to save electricity and heat.

Ursula von der Leyen said in an interview with ZDF today that Europe needs to move away from its dependence on Russia for energy as soon as possible. In Europe, about 40 percent of gas, 25 percent of oil, and about a quarter of uranium from nuclear plants currently come from Russia.

Yesterday, the European Commission presented a plan to reduce Europe's share of energy from Russia by two-thirds within a year. According to Leyen, the plan foresees asking other world suppliers to send more LNG.

He said that so much of it has now been sent that Europe will be independent of Russian gas at least until the end of this winter. Secondly, common storage facilities will be built. Thirdly, there is to be a major investment in renewable energy.

Von der Leyen said that everyone can contribute to reducing energy dependency and called on Europeans to save energy.

"Of course, there are also savings programs that go more into the economy, but if we combine all this - other suppliers, energy savings - we can become independent of Russian gas much faster," said von der Leyen.

Asked what these measures would do to energy prices, von der Leyen said oil was another issue and that was why the sanctions were coordinated very closely with her American friends. "For us, it is important that everyone brings to the sanctions what would hurt Putin, but what would not hurt us. What we see now is that the rouble is in free fall, interest rates are going down, rating agencies have rated Russian bonds as junk bonds..." At this point, the presenter intervened, asking von der Leyen to talk about energy prices.

Von der Leyen then said that the US is in a better position than we are as far as Russia's abandonment of oil is concerned, but that we also have to be careful that prices here do not escalate too much because that would weaken us again.

But von der Leyen did not say how the price hikes would be dealt with.
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