Josep Borrell defends the EU’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Things don’t skid so much,” said the head of European diplomacy before the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. And he added: “If we compare from January to August of this year with the same period last year, the Russian state budget has received 18% less from oil and gas sales.”
In addition, the High Representative for Foreign Policy, has argued in response to the Italian MEP Fabio Castaldo (M5S): “And the great surplus that it had, is melting because in recent months the income from the sale of hydrocarbons has fallen a lot, an 18% drop until August”.
“Until now”, said Borrell, “the lower quantities sold were compensated by higher prices, because the price of gas has multiplied. But now that doesn’t happen, because the quantities have dropped so much that the price increase no longer compensates the product, because it doesn’t increase”.
The High Representative continued: “Today we Europeans import five times less Russian gas than at the beginning of the war. Why are we not a little more aware of what we have managed to do in such a short time? When we say that we have to leave 100% of Russian gas, it turns out that we already import five times less, it is a lot in a very short time”.
“Therefore, we must continue doing more of the same: reducing consumption, looking for alternative suppliers, more renewables… there are no more secrets. When a few months ago I said that the heating had to be reduced by one degree, which is the equivalent of 7% consumption, they told me very kind things. I received a lot of kindnesses. Well, it wasn’t that stupid, because now we are all considering reducing more than one degree, and we are going to do it, because perhaps it is the price of our energy independence. And we are doing it.”
Borrell has also responded to those who have called for more diplomatic efforts.
The German Özlem Demirel (Die Linke/The Left), has asked him: “What are you doing to promote a ceasefire? Is there no exit strategy? What does the EU do apart from handing over weapons and imposing sanctions?
And the head of diplomacy has replied: “You and I want the war to end as soon as possible, but I am concerned about how it ends. I want it to end as soon as possible, but I am not indifferent to how the war ends. The sooner yes, but not in any way. If we stop helping Ukraine, the war may end sooner. I am sure that he does not want Russia to succeed in its aggression against Ukraine. And right now what we do to build peace is to help Ukraine defend itself. It is a necessary step to achieve a peace that deserves its name”.