EU Commission warns of blackouts across Europe this winter

High voltage lines near the Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant in Cattenom, eastern France, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Member states of the European Union should prepare for blackouts across the bloc this winter as the energy crisis deepens, an EU commissioner has said.

Speaking to German news outlets, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič warned that power shortages are a real possibility and revealed the EU executive is preparing contingency plans for such an eventuality.

“It is quite possible that disaster relief will also be needed within the EU,” Lenarčič told the editorial network in Germany on Tuesday. He explained that his department is preparing for two scenarios.

The first envisages power shortages for some but not all member states and would see certain nations supply electricity generators to others in addition to other emergency aid, “as happens during natural disasters.”

However, should a majority of EU member states find themselves in difficulty, Brussels would need to delve into “strategic reserves” Lenarčič says the commission has at its disposal for such a crisis.

These reserves include firefighting aircraft, generators, water pumps, and fuel, in addition to medical equipment and medicines.

“Even before the war [in Ukraine], we prepared ourselves for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear emergencies,” Lenarčič said.

The EU commissioner also warned of the rise in humanitarian problems across the globe, citing the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan as areas wrought with “development problems and climate change impacts such as soil degradation, drought, or flooding.” He added that the European Union should increase its aid to these areas despite the cost of living crisis back at home, warning: “If we do not address the misery around us, it will come to us instead.”

German and AfD MEP Christine Anderson criticized the commission for its policies that she argued have brought misery to Europe.

“Is the European Commission waking up from its delusion? It fears power cuts in Europe because of sanctions against Russia and prepares for the big blackout in the EU. Disaster in the making due to arrogant elite politics!” she tweeted.

It is not just the European Union that faces such a crisis. The U.K.’s energy regulator Ofgem revealed in a letter seen by The Times newspaper that Britain is at “significant risk” of gas shortages this winter, and warned that a “gas supply emergency” could see some gas-fired power plants cut off completely, preventing them from generating electricity.

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