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Sunday, October 24, 2021

EU countries could buy emergency Russian gas as a bloc to drive down price

The European Union could buy emergency gas reserves from Russia as a bloc under plans being considered by Brussels to protect people from record-breaking energy prices.

EU sources said the idea was among several being looked at. The common purchase of gas reserves would be similar to the bloc’s joint procurement strategy for buying coronavirus vaccines.  

The European Commission negotiated for jabs on behalf of EU member states, which were thought to get a better price by negotiating as a bloc of 450 million consumers than they could individually.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, said on Monday that Spain was among the member states pushing for joint procurement and common gas storage. France, Romania, Greece and the Czech Republic also support the plans, which are at a very early stage.

“We continue to have a need for Russian gas and we will probably need more than that contracted. That is why Spain proposes, quite rightly, that the negotiation be done not country by country, but as a whole, as has been done with vaccines,” he told the El Pais newspaper.

“We are facing an emergency situation. And the gas supply problem has a geopolitical dimension,” he added, in a veiled reference to strained relations with Russia.

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