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The European Council took measures to prevent gas crisis and ensure solidarity among member states in case of disruptions of supply

The Council adopted (1) a regulation aimed at safeguarding the security of gas supplyby ensuring the proper and continuous functioning of the internal gas market and by providing a clear definition and attribution of responsibilities, as well as an efficient coordination of response at the level of the member states and the Union regarding both preventive action and the reaction to concrete disruptions of supply (30/10).

A major disruption of gas supply to the Union can affect all member states as well as its neighbouring partners, leading to significant economic damages, and having also a severe social impact, in particular on vulnerable groups of customers.

Thus the regulation establishes measures to protect those customers and encourages solidarity among member states and between member states and operators which have to cooperate and comply with the internal market rules and their contractual obligations also in emergency situations, as far as technically and safely possible. When drawing Preventive Action and Emergency Plans at national and, if appropriate, regional level, Competent Authorities are also required to consult each other. Regional cooperation is another form of solidarity which is provided for in the regulation.

Natural gas is an essential component in the energy supply of the Union, constituting one quarter of its primary energy supply. Gas consumption in Europe has increased rapidly during the last ten years while domestic production has decreased. Thus, the growing reliance on imported energy is a significant additional risk for the Union's security of energy supply. Relations with third countries assume therefore particular relevance in the context of the necessary diversification of sources of supply and routes.

(1) The decision was taken, without discussion, at a meeting of the Competitiveness Council.

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