EU city wants exemption from Russia sanctions – media — Analysis

According to Reuters, the Hague intends to apply for temporary EU permission to purchase gas from Gazprom.

The Hague (the Netherlands) has confirmed that it plans to ask the EU for an exemption temporarily from anti-Russia sanctions. As the International Criminal Court’s headquarters, this city wants to continue purchasing natural gas from Gazprom until an alternate supplier can be found.

The Hague’s city council presented its plans to the media on Thursday.

EU sanctions, imposed in response to Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, mean that all governments and public bodies in the bloc must terminate their existing contracts with Russian companies by October 10.

EU electricity prices soar to new highs

The Hague officials are positive that a deal can be made with an alternative supplier. However, it will not happen before October 31, as stated in a letter addressed to city council, sent by Deputy mayor Saskia Bruines. Reuters also cited the letter.

To ensure supply safety and facilitate negotiation, we will request an exemption from our existing arrangement through January 1, 2023.” the official is quoted as saying.

Bruines reportedly expressed confidence that The Hague would give the EU an exemption. She did acknowledge, however that any new contract would be much more costly than the Gazprom one currently in place.

The European Commission has not yet commented on this issue.

The Hague was the first Dutch municipality that requested an exemption. Gazprom has contracts with many other cities and towns throughout the Netherlands.

Natural gas prices in Europe hit record highs soon after the start of Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine. They have stabilized, but the price of fossil fuels remains high.

Russia also cut its gas supply in the last months due to technical problems caused by Western sanctions. European consumers also accuse Moscow with weaponizing its energy exports.

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