- 25 Mar 22
US President Joe Biden and European Union Chief Ursula von der leyen gave a join press conference in Brussels on friday.
During a joint press conference in Brussels on friday, US President Joe Biden and EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen announced a task force aimed at reducing Europe's reliance on Russian fuel in response to Putin's war on Ukraine.
The initiative sees the US strive to supply Europe with an extra 15 billion cubic meters of liquified natural gas this year.
“Putin has used Russia’s energy resources … to manipulate its neighbours. He’s used the profits to drive his war machine," said Biden. "Today, we’ve agreed on a joint gameplan toward that goal, while accelerating our progress toward a secure clean energy future. This initiative focuses on two core issues. One, helping Europe reduces dependency on Russian gas as quickly as possible Secondly, reducing Europe’s demand for gas overall.”
Neighbouring states, the Baltics and Poland, are urging their European counterparts to strengthen sanctions against Russia while others, including Germany, are resistant to the idea given their reliance on Russian gas imports.
The EU previously announced plans to slash it's Russian gas imports by two-thirds in 2022 and eliminate imports entirely over the next decade.
During the conference, Von der Leyen said: "In a world faced with disorder, our transatlantic unity upholds fundamental values and rules that our citizens believe in. We want as Europeans to diversify away from Russia towards suppliers that we trust, that are friends and that are reliable. Therefore the US commitment to provide the European Union with additional at least 15 billion cubic meters of LNG this year is a big step in this direction because this will replace the LNG supply we currently receive from Russia.”
The task force will be chaired by a US representative from the White House and a representative of the President of the European Commission. The collective, will work to ensure energy security for Ukraine and the EU.
With Moscow supplying around 150 billion cubic metres of gas each year, Europe is presented with a major task in substituting their fuel supply. US gas accounted for only 6.3% of the EU's gas supply in the first half of 2021.