Scholz: speed up independence from Russian oil

Europe needs to increase its efforts to cut its dependency from Russian fossil fuel imports in the face of the latest crisis, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Brussels.

“All together, we are very, very well prepared for the difficult challenge linked to Russian fossil fuel imports,” he told reporters during the EU summit.

He said this was the reason why the bloc had not only imposed sanctions on Russian coal and oil at an early stage, but had as well worked on adjusting its infrastructure in a way that European countries can import gas from other countries, too.

“This is an effort that we need to speed up further now – and of course this is linked to big challenges but we will support each other,” he said.

The summit takes place against a darker backdrop than last year when the British, Canadian, French, German, Italian, Japanese and US leaders vowed to build back better.

Soaring global energy and food hitting economic growth in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Indeed, the United Nations warned on Friday of an “unprecedented global hunger crisis”. Climate change, an increasingly assertive China and the rise of authoritarianism were also set to be on the agenda.

The G7 leaders were expected to seek to show a united front on supporting Ukraine for as long as necessary and increasing pressure on the Kremlin – although they will almost certainly want to avoid sanctions that could stoke inflation and exacerbate the cost-of-living crisis.