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EU energy crisis amid tensions with Russia

Jerome Hughes
Press TV, Brussels

The European Union, which is heavily dependent on Russia's gas, is facing an energy crisis. Experts warn it is time for the 27-country bloc to improve relations with Moscow

Nerves are growing more frayed in the EU ahead of winter time. Gas prices have soared by 250 percent since the start of the year and supplies are depleting. Almost half of all gas used in the EU is imported from Russia but relations between the bloc and Moscow are at an all time low.

Analysts say it's not surprising, therefore, that the Kremlin is reluctant to increase supplies. The crisis has been discussed at a meeting of EU energy ministers attended by senior European Commission officials.

Experts say ordinary hard-pressed citizens are now paying the price because the EU refuses to dial down its anti-Russia rhetoric.

Gas prices have shot up due to demand because economies are bouncing back from the pandemic. In the EU, last winter and spring were colder than usual and so gas reserves in the 27-nation bloc were hit. Since then power grids have not benefited much from wind energy due to mild weather conditions.

Moscow and Berlin want the speedy approval of Nord Stream 2, the controversial pipeline under the Baltic Sea that will double Russian gas exports to Germany. Completed earlier this month, the pipeline cannot start delivering gas until it clears regulatory hurdles in the European Commission.

The United States is very much against the Russian-German gas pipeline and analysts say Washington is putting the EU under pressure to try and delay things.

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