IEA chief Fatih Birol warns member states could abandon solidarity to secure their own gas supply
The worsening energy crisis could lead EU countries to abandon solidarity for their own energy security, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, told the Financial Times.
In an interview with the media, Birol said he feared that “a Wild West scenariois in the works between the countries of the bloc, in which they could limit energy exports to their neighbors in order to protect their own domestic supplies.
“The implications will be very bad for energy, very bad for the economy, but extremely bad politically… If Europe fails this energy test, it may go beyond the energy implications,Birol was quoted as saying. He added that the EU faces “two scenarios», and the future of the bloc depends on the adherence of member states to one of its founding principles: solidarity.
“The EU and its members will work in solidarity, supporting each other… or there is another scenario, if everyone is for themselves… One of the founding values of the EU is solidarity,“and give it up”will negatively affect the weight of the EU in the world,” he said.
The EU is in the grip of an energy crisis, with natural gas prices soaring 400% to their peak in 2022.
With Russian supplies dwindling amid sanctions on the country and counter-sanctions from Moscow, member states have turned to alternative energy sources, including LNG from the United States and Qatar. Brussels has also implemented policies to reduce gas consumption, stockpile supplies for the winter and share between countries in the bloc.
The latter measure will only work if member states establish bilateral pacts to share gas, analysts say. However, not all EU countries have these arrangements, and earlier this month reports emerged that Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland had refused to commit to any arrangements. talks on gas-sharing agreements.
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