Europe is facing a difficult winter, when the weather is particularly cold, as the perfect storm that is currently hitting its natural gas market could potentially cause a supply crisis (Opinion, 21 September). But it can be like this last winter, if the right lessons are learned.
The current situation clearly illustrates that instead of doing everything possible to reduce gas supplies from major suppliers such as Russia, the security of gas supply in Europe can be more effectively protected by ensuring that unused alternatives are maintained.
Creating these alternative supplies can be very challenging at the national level, but it is quite easy at the European level. In fact, European gas import infrastructure is significantly underutilized. By acting together, European countries can take advantage of this flexibility and create a continental insurance system that can potentially be activated in the event of a supply disruption.
In practical terms, it would be sufficient to legally make available to all European gas importers and local producers a certain amount of alternative supplies (such as 20 percent of the contracted demand for a year) to make the overall European gas system safer, more flexible and mutually beneficial. connected.
Simone Tagliapietra and Georg Zachmann
Senior Fellow, Bruegel, Brussels, Belgium