Putin on brink of losing EU cash cow as bloc to strike gas deal with Egypt and Israel

Russia: EU 'completely wrong' to rely on gas says Timmermans

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Amid the Ukraine war, the EU is continuing to purchase Russia’s natural gas due to its huge reliance on the fossil fuel, handing billions to the Kremlin. And as Russian supplies account for around 40 percent of all its gas imports, this has made it difficult for the bloc to address sanctioning gas. While it has not yet included a gas ban in sanctions package, it has unveiled its REPowerEU strategy which details the blueprint to phase out imports of Russian gas and oil by 2027.

Part of that plan involves purchasing gas from alternative suppliers like Israel and Egypt, which the bloc now appears to be pressing ahead with.

According to a draft document, the EU will sign a gas deal with Egypt later this month.

The draft statement also notes that Israel, Egypt and the EU are all poised to sign a memorandum when Commission President Ursula von der Leyen heads to Cairo.

The draft document reads: “Security of gas supply is a common major concern.

“Egypt and the EU will work together on the stable delivery of gas to the EU.”

The deal could involve Israeli natural gas being sent to Egypt to be liquified at the country’s processing plants.

This liquified natural gas (LNG) would then be shipped into the bloc.

Romania is reportedly one of the keenest EU advocates of this, saying in April it would help to bolster the bloc’s energy security.

And this is not the only tactic floated to help the EU slash its dependence on Russian energy.

The European Commission has also been pushing for an oil embargo, but the proposal needs approval from all 27 members of the bloc.

But Hungary has fiercely opposed an embargo, calling it a “red line”.

Now, Spanish MEP Luis Garicano has come up with an “alternative plan”.

In an op-ed for Politico, he argued: ”The EU has sent over €50billion (£43billion) to Russia ever since the war broke out (and only €12bn to Ukraine).

“This is the problem, but it is also part of the solution.

“Russia is completely wired to Europe. Much of its gas exports come by pipeline, and so does a third of its oil. Without European buyers, Putin cannot finance his war.”

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He argued that a tariff, instead of sanctions, could be a better way to punish Putin and swerve Hungary’s opposition as it continues to delay action from being taken.

Mr Garicano said: “There is an alternative… an alternative that can be adopted by a simple majority of member states.”

He argued: “The Russians are currently taking discounts of 35 percent or so to sell their oil to China and India, which indicates that a tariff below that level would largely be paid by the Russians.

“Thus, a 30 percent tariff would mean the EU economy would take a small hit, but Russia’s would suffer very substantial damage.”

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