EU leaders united against Russia, divided over energy summit

Oct 18, 2022, 11:09 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2022, 11:53 am
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen waits for the start of a Tripartite Social Summi...

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen waits for the start of a Tripartite Social Summit at the EU Council building in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct 19, 2022. European Union leaders enter a crucial stretch this week to make sure runaway energy prices and short supplies do not further weaken their struggling economies and foment unrest. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, rings a bell as she speaks with European Council President Charles Michel at the start of a Tripartite Social Summit at the EU Council building in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct 19, 2022. European Union leaders enter a crucial stretch this week to make sure runaway energy prices and short supplies do not further weaken their struggling economies and foment unrest. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrives for a Tripartite Social Summit at the EU Council building in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct 19, 2022. European Union leaders enter a crucial stretch this week to make sure runaway energy prices and short supplies do not further weaken their struggling economies and foment unrest. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen waits for the start of a Tripartite Social Summit at the EU Council building in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct 19, 2022. European Union leaders enter a crucial stretch this week to make sure runaway energy prices and short supplies do not further weaken their struggling economies and foment unrest. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has shown rock-solid unity in confronting Russia over its war in Ukraine, but EU leaders lack that common purpose heading into Thursday’s summit to seek joint measures to contain an energy crisis that has already dented their economy and threatens to spread hardship among the bloc’s 450 million people this winter.

Natural gas prices spiraled out of control over the summer as EU nations sought to outbid one another to fill up their reserves for winter. Now EU leaders will seek to increasingly pool their purchases of gas and set a temporary price cap to make sure an overheated energy market does not return to haunt them again.

The 27-nation bloc hit Russia with a series of economic sanctions since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded by choking off pipelines that used to send plentiful oil and gas to stoke the wheels of industry across much of the EU.

“Russia has systemically tried to blackmail us through energy,” said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

Most EU leaders have vowed to stay the course in the standoff with Putin. But authoritarian Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is bent on being a spoiler at the energy summit, contradicting most leaders by saying that the EU sanctions on Russia primarily hurt EU citizens, not Putin.

In addition, finding a common answer to Europe’s energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine is proving to be a tall order. The two-day summit, said host Charles Michel, “will be difficult.”

Many EU nations are ready to embrace a proposal to cap natural gas prices, but Germany and the Netherlands have raised major issues about that.

A senior German official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department rules, was adamant about Germany’s opposition to the gas cap. The official claimed that “market interventions of an artificial nature could have negative consequences” on both the availability of natural gas and on incentives for governments and consumers to save it. Dutch comments have gone the same way.

“Ships sail to where the best price is,” the official said. “Those who are mobile on the world markets and are flexible … have alternatives.”

A senior EU official concurred, saying “we don’t want to see all LNG (liquid natural gas) ships heading to China.”

A plan for the EU to pool joint purchases of gas and measures to improve solidarity with EU nations most hurt by the spiraling energy prices were expected to receive much more support, diplomats said.

Russia is increasingly relying on drone strikes against Ukraine’s energy grid and civilian infrastructure and sowing panic with hits on Ukrainian cities, tactics that von der Leyen called “war crimes” and “pure terror” on Wednesday. Diplomats are already assessing more sanctions to come.

But Orban’s perceived friendliness toward the Kremlin, however, makes life tougher. Even though the previous EU sanctions targeting Russia have been approved all together, it has increasingly become difficult to keep Orban on board by agreeing to exemptions.

“The failed sanctions in Brussels are already an almost unbearable burden. We will urge the reconsideration of the war sanctions policy,” Orban wrote Wednesday, throwing down a political gauntlet to his colleagues.

____

Geir Moulson in Berlin and Samuel Petrequin in Brussels contributed.

___

Follow all AP stories about the impact of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Judge, pot shop robbery...
Associated Press

Washington state man charged in 34-year-old Wisconsin murder

A Washington state man has been charged in the 1988 slaying of a Wisconsin woman after he was identified using "familial DNA searching"
9 hours ago
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)...
Associated Press

District to pay $5M over teen’s death at football practice

A Washington school district will pay $5.25 million to the family of a high school student who died from a heart attack during a 2018 football practice.
9 hours ago
Associated Press

Tennessee high school sports org votes to allow NIL deals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The rulemaking arm of Tennessee’s high school sports oversight organization has made a change that allows student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. A news release from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association says its legislative council voted for the change on Thursday, effective immediately. Students could receive […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UN rights chief: Protect ‘civic space’ for climate activists

BERLIN (AP) — The top United Nations human rights official said Friday that it’s important to protect the “civic space” for young environmental activists to highlight the urgency of tackling climate change. Volker Türk, who heads the U.N.’s human rights office, said that while the world still has a lot of work to do curbing […]
1 day ago
FILE - This Aug. 28, 2020, photo shows the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Ind. An unprecede...
Associated Press

The story so far: AP’s investigation into federal prisons

An ongoing Associated Press investigation has uncovered deep, previously unreported flaws within the federal Bureau of Prisons, the Justice Department’s largest law enforcement agency, whose secrets have long been hidden within its walls and barbed-wire fences. The AP’s reporting has revealed layer after layer of abuse, neglect and leadership missteps — including rampant sexual abuse […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Guatemala turns over Salvadoran gang leader

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A Salvadoran gang leader who had escaped to neighboring Guatemala after El Salvador began a crackdown on gangs in March has been returned to his country by Guatemalan authorities. President Nayib Bukele touted the capture via Twitter Friday, writing “here the country is respected.” El Salvador accuses Eduardo Pérez, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
EU leaders united against Russia, divided over energy summit