US, EU announce effort to reduce European reliance on Russian energy

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference after a NATO summit

The United States and European Commission on Friday announced measures to wean European nations off of Russian gas, the latest effort to deal a blow to Russia’s economy amid its invasion of Ukraine.

The two sides announced a task force “to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and strengthen European energy security” following a meeting in Brussels between President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The goal is to prepare European countries for next winter and beyond so that they can maintain a steady flow of energy without relying heavily on natural gas provided by Russia, which has given Moscow significant leverage and has been a key sector of Russia’s economy.

As part of the arrangement, the United States will work with international partners to supply more liquefied natural gas (LNG). The U.S. and partners will supply at least 15 billion cubic meters of LNG in 2022, though it was not immediately clear how much of that will come from the United States.

The European Commission also committed to working with European Union member states to ensure demand of roughly 50 billion cubic meters of LNG from the U.S. until at least 2030.

The task force will also focus on steps to reduce reliance on greenhouse gases and build renewable energy infrastructure in the European Union.

The task force will separately focus on reducing the demand for natural gas in Europe through improving infrastructure that decreases reliance on natural gas in favor of solar and wind power and other forms of renewable energy.

“Madame President, I know that eliminating Russian gas will have costs for Europe. But it’s not only the right thing to do, from a moral standpoint. It’s going to put us on a much stronger strategic position,” Biden said during a joint appearance wtih von der Leyen in Brussels.

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