European leaders will also discuss the problem of reducing dependence on Russian gas.
On March 10-11, EU leaders will meet at a summit in Versailles to discuss the EU’s military potential, sanctions against Russia and Belarus, and assistance to Ukraine. On Thursday, the focus will be on Ukraine’s application to join the European Union. As stated in the official letter of invitation of the President of the European Council Charles Michel, “Ukraine is already part of the European family.”
“Russia has returned the war to Europe. This unjustified military aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and undermines European security. Russia is causing untold suffering to the Ukrainian population. We pay tribute to the people of Ukraine for their courage in defending their country. Together with Ukraine, we stand firmly on the side of freedom and democracy,” the letter says.
At the same time, according to experts, it is difficult to predict how the consideration of the Ukrainian application will take place. On the eve of the summit, at a briefing to reporters on Wednesday, the official representative of the European Council said that some countries believe that the process of Ukraine’s accession to the EU should be accelerated, while the other part is convinced that this should happen gradually, in accordance with the current procedure.
On Thursday, March 10, at the summit in Versailles, European leaders will also discuss reducing dependence on Russian gas. Earlier, the European Commission published plans to reduce gas supplies from Russia by two-thirds by the end of this year.
“The EU countries have a common gas market, and if one country has a little less gas, then it is compensated by another country. This is the nature of what we call the internal market, so we don’t need to look at how much each of the European countries depends on Russian gas, we need to look at the overall situation,” says Daniel Gros, an expert at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). “It’s all a question of price: if the European Union is willing to pay Qatar and Australia a higher price for liquefied natural gas than, for example, Japan, then the gas will be sent to the Europeans.”
According to the expert, now the price of Russian gas for Europe is already very high and comparable with the prices of other suppliers. If these figures continue in the next 9-12 months, Europe will supply more gas from other countries, and people inside the EU itself will switch to oil and coal due to high gas prices. At the same time, the European Commission will still develop a detailed plan to reduce dependence on Russian gas. So far, a plan has been outlined: to get rid of dependence on Russian energy suppliers “long before 2030.”