In case of a real crisis in the supply of Russian gas to the EU, member-states are expected to show solidarity, including by signing bilateral supply deals, and Croatia is currently preparing such an agreement with Slovenia, the Jutarnji List daily reports in its Saturday issue.
According to information available to the daily, talks will be held on solidarity deals also with Italy, Hungary and Austria, and they imply technical, legal and financial arrangements.
This mechanism was envisaged by a 2017 European regulation on supply security but so far only six solidarity deals have been signed in the EU. The first one was signed in December 2020 between Germany and Denmark, in late 2021 Germany and Austria signed such an agreement, and as many as four were signed this year - between Estonia and Latvia, Lithuania and Latvia, Italy and Slovenia, and Finland and Estonia.
The European Commission has in the meantime amended the regulation with articles which, if necessary, can be directly applied if there are no bilateral agreements.
The purpose of this is for countries to help one another in ensuring gas supply for their protected consumers (such as households and hospitals) also in the case of the biggest crisis.
Slovenia's minister said at an emergency European meeting on energy earlier this week that Ljubljana definitely wanted to conclude with Croatia an agreement to that effect before the end of the summer, and that a similar proposal had also been sent to Austria.
Under the latest EU agreement on reducing gas consumption by 15% in the period until the spring of 2023 (saving is currently voluntary but in case of an EU emergency, it will become compulsory), member-states need to update, by the end of the summer, their existing gas supply emergency plans and show how they intend to meet the reduction target, and report on it to the EC every two months.
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