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Poland may veto EU gas deal says PM

If the EU would like to force Poland to reduce its gas consumption, Warsaw may veto the recent EU agreement on 15-percent gas cuts, according to Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister.
Mateusz Marek/PAP

If the EU would like to force Poland to reduce its gas consumption, Warsaw may veto the recent EU agreement on 15-percent gas cuts, according to Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister.

EU ministers have reached an agreement under which the member states will reduce their gas use by 15 percent. The voluntary cuts would become obligatory in the event of a supply emergency. This tentative agreement is yet to be formally endorsed at a European Council meeting.

“We don’t want the mechanism to be obligatory because we believe we have done our work and we need to take care of Poland first,” Morawiecki told the TV broadcaster Polsat News on Thursday.

Morawiecki also criticised Germany, which is a key advocate of the deal, for having been too reliant on Russian gas. He said Germany has coal plants and can boost their capacity and can decide not to shut down their nuclear power plants “and then there will be no shortage of electricity in Germany.”

Germany decided to phase out its nuclear power generation after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan in 2011.

The prime minister said Poland wanted the decision on gas use cuts in the EU to be taken in a unanimous vote rather than a majority vote. “We demand this,” he said. “Today the decision has not been made yet… If the EU tries to force a qualified majority vote, we will strongly protest.”

Asked whether Poland may decide to veto such a solution, Morawiecki said that “if we have to, we’ll use a formal veto and then it will be up to European Union bodies to determine the reaction to the veto.”

Despite Russia having turned off the gas tap on Poland, the country has already secured the bulk of its gas needs through imports to its Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal on the Baltic Sea and is also expected to open a new gas pipeline, the Baltic Pipe, connecting Poland with gas deposits on the Norwegian shelf.


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