The European Union is “ready to react” to Russia’s decision to halt gas supplies to the bloc, a top EU official told CNBC on Saturday.
Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom on Friday announced an indefinite halt to gas flows to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, citing the need for additional repairs.
The move came after supplies had already been halted last week for a planned “maintenance outage” that was expected to last until Sept. 3.
“We expect that Russia is respecting the contracts that they have but even if the weaponization of energy will continue or will increase in response to our decisions, I think that the Euoprean Union is ready to react,” said Paolo Gentiloni, the EU’s economics commissioner.
The bloc has already called on all members to voluntarily reduce their respective gas consumption by 15% in the fall and through the winter months in a bid to eke out supplies.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, also speaking to CNBC at the Ambrosetti Forum, said while the expected energy shortages this coming winter were “very inconvenient for Europe” it would not be “the first time that Europeans had to suffer for their freedom.”