EU to extend measures targeting 15% gas demand cut until 2025

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Although security of supply in the EU has improved, continued demand reduction is still needed to secure sufficient gas storage for next winter, said the EU Council after reaching a political agreement on a recommendation to continue coordinated demand reduction.

The supply situation in the EU has significantly improved since 2022. This has been made possible thanks to, inter alia, gas demand reduction measures that member states took based on the gas demand reduction regulation, informed the Council.

The latter was adopted as an emergency instrument in 2022, in response to the energy crisis caused by Russia’s war of aggression. In March 2023, it was prolonged until the end of March 2024, to ensure continuity of supply security and contain price volatility.

Despite the overal improvement of the supply situation, however, according to the latest Commission’s reports, the situation on the global gas markets remains tight. Therefore, as the demand reduction regulation is about to expire, member states want to remain prepared for any possible gas disruption. In order to achieve that, EU collective storages must remain at a sufficiently high level throughout the winter.

“We have come a long way since 2022 through adopting coordinated measures in the EU and responding swiftly to the energy crisis caused by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The political agreement reached today shows our commitment to remain prepared against any supply disruptions and to guarantee a safe winter for our citizens and industries,” said Tinne Van der Straeten, Belgian Minister for Energy.

In the framework of the political agreement, member states are encouraged to continue reducing their gas consumption until 31 March 2025, by at least 15 per cent compared to their average gas consumption in the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2022.

This recommendation aims to help member states to take adequate supply security measures until the transposition of the directives on energy efficiency and renewables in 2025, which will both bring structural demand reduction in the near future, while achieving EU’s decarbonisation goals.

The recommendation acknowledges specific circumstances, such as desynchronisation, isolated systems and limited interconnection capacity. It also recommends maintaining other existing measures under the demand reduction regulation, such as monitoring and reporting of the gas demand reduction per sector and informing the Commission in case new measures are adopted.

The political agreement will need to be formally adopted by the Council. The adoption of the recommendation is expected to take place later in March.

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