Poland and Hungary have refused to support the EU’s plan to cut gas consumption by 15%, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing a document published by the Czech Republic, which currently chairs negotiations within the bloc.
EU countries last week agreed on a plan to reduce gas usage in order to fill storages amid concern of a possible shut-off of Russian supplies.
- The EU Council approved the plan on Friday. However, according to Reuters, the vote for approval only required a simple majority – meaning the support of 15 of the bloc’s 28 members – to be adopted.
Hungary, which is currently in talks to secure more gas supplies from Russia, had opposed the scheme from the very beginning. According to the document seen by Reuters, Budapest questioned the legality of the plan, claiming that it would affect the country’s energy security.
Poland, meanwhile, initially agreed to cut consumption but on Friday voted against the plan, the agency reports. Warsaw called the legal basis of the document “defective” and said that decisions affecting the energy mix of EU countries should be made with the unanimous approval of all of member states.
The newly adopted rationing plan is not mandatory unless the EU Council triggers a ‘Union alert’ on gas supply security.
It also includes a number of exemptions. In particular, member states that are not connected to the gas networks of other EU countries are exempt from the requirement.
In addition, members can request a relaxation of the conditions if they have exceeded their storage capacity targets or if their strategically important industries are heavily dependent on gas.