A spirit of solidarity? Evaluating Slovakia’s potential contribution to regional and intra-EU natural gas security of supply
The aim of this study was to assess Slovakia’s preparedness in the natural gas sector, its political position on solidarity from public statements, and propose avenues for revitalizing the regional solidarity mechanism both to manage the current crisis and to accelerate the transition away not only from Russian gas but gas entirely, to meet 2030 climate targets, and beyond.
Solidarity mechanism is important aspect within regional cooperation. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 fully exposed the problem of energy dependence on the Russian federation, notably in the energy sector. High energy dependence on Russian energy sources in Europe, especially Central and Eastern European (CEE), is a limiting factor for the EU to impose full sanctions on energy imports. The EU responded by announcing the REPowerEU strategy in May 2022 in order to wean the bloc completely off of Russian energy by 2027. Alongside supply substitution, mostly via LNG, in July 2022 member state ministers responsible for the energy portfolio agreed to reduce gas consumption by 15% by March 2023, guided by the Save Gas for a Safe Winter plan.
The agreement was two fold: first, EU members have to introduce natural gas saving measures, and second the plan is to create opportunities for cooperation in the event of a severe winter and gas shortages. It also proposes a mandatory solidarity mechanism for all EU countries during a gas shortage. Therefore, we looked closer into this mechanism and role of Slovakia in it.