Banning Supplies of Russian Gas Would Cause Split of EU, Germany's E.ON Head Says

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Torn EU flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.04.2022
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BERLIN (Sputnik) - An immediate embargo on gas supplies from Russia would be painful for Germany and for the whole European Union, and could result in a split in the bloc, since some countries are heavily dependent on Russian energy, Leonhard Birnbaum, the CEO of German energy company E.ON, said on Tuesday.

"I think this is wrong... Such a move would not only hit Germany hard, but Europe would also face a huge problem. For example, Slovakia is completely dependent on Russian gas, and countries like the Czech Republic and Austria receive most of their gas from Russia. In many others EU countries, it accounts for at least a significant share", Birnbaum told German newspaper Handelsblatt.

According to the E.ON chief, the issue of gas supplies must be discussed at the pan-European, not national level.

"If we believe that we can provide supplies to Germany without taking care of other countries, then this will lead to a split in the EU," Birnbaum added.

The head of E.ON stressed that the security of energy supplies to Germany is not sufficiently ensured. According to him, it will take three years for Berlin to end its dependence on Russian energy. In the short term, electricity prices will remain high, Birnbaum said.
In late March, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck activated the early warning level for fear Russia may cut off its gas supplies due to Western sanctions imposed on the country over its special military operation in Ukraine.
© AP Photo / Dmitry LovetskyIn this April 9, 2010 file photo, a Russian construction worker speaks on a mobile phone in Portovaya Bay some 170 km (106 miles) northwest of St. Petersburg, Russia, during a ceremony marking the start of construction for the Nord Stream pipeline.
In this April 9, 2010 file photo, a Russian construction worker speaks on a mobile phone in Portovaya Bay some 170 km (106 miles) northwest of St. Petersburg, Russia, during a ceremony marking the start of construction for the Nord Stream pipeline.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.04.2022
In this April 9, 2010 file photo, a Russian construction worker speaks on a mobile phone in Portovaya Bay some 170 km (106 miles) northwest of St. Petersburg, Russia, during a ceremony marking the start of construction for the Nord Stream pipeline.
In February, Berlin announced its intention to reduce dependency on Russian energy in the near future. Germany plans to stop importing coal and oil from Russia by the end of this year and to end its dependence on Russian gas by 2024.
At the beginning of 2022, Germany imported almost 55% of its natural gas from Russia. To date, this share has been reduced to 40%. Berlin sees supplies of liquefied natural gas from Qatar, the United States, and other countries as an alternative to Russian gas.
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