The European Commission has proposed this Monday to extend for another year, until March 31, 2024, the voluntary objective of a coordinated reduction of 15% in gas demand to which the countries of the European Union committed themselves last year in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the challenge of breaking dependence on its fossil fuels.

“Our collective efforts to reduce the demand for gas have been essential to get through the winter in complete safety,” said the Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson, who already pointed out this proposal in a recent appearance before MEPs, when she encouraged governments and companies in the EU to stop buying Russian natural gas and refused to sign new contracts with Russia when the current ones expire.

Brussels thus insists on the importance that, in the “difficult” context of the global market, the bloc prepare for the coming winter and maintain the path of reduced demand to facilitate the filling of gas reserves and stabilize the supply .

Community services point out that a reduction in demand and better managed consumption help to contain the volatility of energy prices, while valuing progress in diversifying EU energy sources and reducing dependency From Russia.

In a statement, Commissioner Simson has warned that the “tension” in the international markets will continue “for the next few months” despite these improvements, so the 27 must continue with the commitment to reduce demand and ensure that for On November 1, European gas stores are at 90%.

According to data from Brussels, thanks to voluntary contributions, gas demand in the EU as a whole fell by more than 19% between August and December 2023, thus improving the 15% target and allowing savings of 42,000 million m3 Of gas. These figures also eased the pressure on some partner countries after the supply cuts from Russia.

EU energy ministers will be able to formally examine this proposal at their next meeting in Brussels, scheduled for March 28.