BRUSSELS: Italy’s dependence on Russia for imported gas has decreased to 25% from 40% last year, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Friday following a summit of European Union leaders where inflation and rising energy prices were a key issue.
Like other EU nations, Italy has been scrambling to diversify its gas imports in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Tuesday Rome announced initial measures to boost gas storage to overcome shortfalls of gas supplies from Russia.
“We need to act now. … If we manage to do something on that front (energy) we will obtain a result in terms of containing inflation,” Draghi told a news conference.
EU leaders have accused Moscow of “weaponising” energy following its invasion of Ukraine, applying a supply squeeze that Germany warned could partly shut its industry.
Draghi said that a possible price cap on gas - an Italian flagship proposal - had been discussed by EU leaders and would also be on the agenda of a Group of Seven (G7) summit starting in Germany on Sunday.
Draghi had proposed holding an extraordinary EU meeting in July to try to get broad agreement for the plan, but he said that instead the European Commission had agreed to prepare a report on the idea by September. This would be discussed by EU leaders at a regular summit set for October, he told reporters.
“The main objection to a cap is fear that Russia could further shut down gas supplies,” Draghi said.
However, he did not rule out an extraordinary summit if Russia took further action on gas supplies.