Macron dealt huge blow: Katya Adler reveals EU misses Merkel as Russia war threats mount

The former German Chancellor has always been praised for her diplomatic strategies and ability to negotiate with rogue states such as Russia on behalf of the EU. Now Russia is threatening the West with war by ordering troops to enter Ukraine, Mrs Merkel’s is being missed in Brussels circles, according to BBC’s Katya Adler.

The BBC Europe Editor said: “In Brussels, the European Commission has been ‘finalising targeted sanctions‘ following President Putin’s recognition on the two breakaway regions in Eastern Ukraine and movement of troops thereas ‘peacekeepers‘.

“EU sanctions are expected to be targeted at this stage and very much in line with the US.

“There’s been a lot of close coordination.

“Brussels doesn’t expect a formal announcement of the sanctions today as the package has to be endorsed unanimously by 27 member states but Brussels insiders say there will be huge pressure from EU and US on any member state that might drag its heels.

“Focus today is also on diplomacy. And the what happens next.

“France holds the rotating EU presidency and is taking the lead.

“As for EU heavyweight Germany, the absence of Angela Merkel at the helm – well-versed in international crises – is noted privately in Brussels circles.”

It comes as a blow to President Macron currently leading diplomatic talks between his EU counterparts, Russia and the US.

It is also a smack to Mrs Merkel’s successor, Olaf Scholz, who was forced to announce a halt to the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines project signed and fought for by Mrs Merkel herself with Russia.

In response, the European Commission said Europe’s energy supply would not be affected if the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline designed to bring Russian gas to Germany was halted, since the pipeline is not yet operating.

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They said: “Nord Stream 2 is not yet functioning, is not supplying energy to Europe. It’s not a different source of energy, it’s a different pipeline for an existing supplier… There’s no change in the current situation.”

Nord Stream 2 is designed to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia straight to Germany, bypassing traditional transit nation Ukraine, on the bed of the Baltic Sea.

Russia currently supplies around 40 percent of Europe’s gas.

Concerns about supply disruptions amid escalating tensions over Ukraine have led the EU to seek alternative supplies of gas in recent months, from countries including the United States, Qatar, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Japan and South Korea.

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European LNG imports hit a record high of around 11 bcm in January.

The Commission has said its models suggest the EU could cope with a partial disruption to Russian gas supply this winter, pointing to current storage levels and countries’ contingency plans for supply shocks.

Analysts have said a disruption could push up European gas prices, which have soared in recent months and prompted most EU countries to roll out emergency measures to shield citizens from rising bills.

The EU plans to limit its reliance on fossil fuel imports over the next decade and beyond, by shifting to renewable energy and using less energy. To meet its 2030 climate change target, the EU expects to reduce its natural gas consumption by more than 25 percent compared with 2015 levels.

Gas emits CO2 when burned, but is expected to retain a significant share of the EU energy mix in the near term as countries prioritise phasing out the dirtiest fossil fuel, coal.

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