By Barbara Lewis and Robin Emmott BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders on Friday discussed accelerating moving energy supplies away from Russia, saying Moscow's annexation of Crimea made them more determined to reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas. The EU has made progress in improving its energy security after gas crises in 2006 and 2009, when rows over unpaid gas bills between Kiev and Moscow led to the disruption of supplies to western Europe. However, it has not managed to reduce Russia's share of European energy supplies. While any Russian supply outage would have less impact than before, Russia provides around one third of the EU's oil and gas. Some 40 percent of the gas is shipped through Ukraine. "It is all about making the EU stronger as a whole versus energy exporters," Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk said as he arrived for the second day of the summit in Brussels where leaders dedicated the morning to energy issues. Leaders are expected to call on the European Commission, the EU executive, to draw up detailed proposals by June on how to diversify away from Russia in the short and long term. Europe has increased the share of renewable energy to around 15 percent and has improved infrastructure and introduced a raft of legislation, which is beginning to take effect. Accelerated procedures, for instance, can put an end to planning battles that can drag on for years, allowing facilities for processing liquefied natural (LNG) gas shipped from all over the world to be speeded through. INCREASING RELIANCE Leaders are pushing for a focus on near-term solutions as well as continuance of the longer process of reducing Europe's energy dependence, which has been rising rather than falling. EU statistics office Eurostat's energy dependence indicator, showing the extent to which EU relies on imports crept up to 65.8 percent in 2012 from 63.4 percent in 2009. The share of Russian gas rose to around 30 percent from 22 percent in 2010, while Russia's oil imports accounted for around 35 percent of EU use. Denmark has led a call to ask the European Commission by June to deliver a detailed plan of action and Britain has circulated its vision of longer-term measures. Meanwhile, France and Britain are leading efforts to convince the United States to agree to export more U.S. natural gas to Europe as part of ongoing trade talks with the United States, or even before they are agreed. Analysts are very cautious about how much U.S. gas could make it to Europe as higher Asian prices are a bigger lure, but wherever it is shipped, it would have an effect, freeing up more Middle Eastern supplies from Qatar for instance. "What better opportunity for the United States to extend their influence. It is attractive for political reasons, not necessarily economic ones," said one EU official close to the discussions. SENDING A SIGNAL While EU leaders seek to draw up their plans, hurting Moscow, which gets around $5 billion euros per month from its gas exports to Europe, is also at the forefront of EU leaders' minds. Although the Baltic nations and Bulgaria are among the countries most heavily reliant on Russian gas, Germany is one of those that imports the highest volumes. It has been a very loyal customer and Russia's Nord Stream pipeline, specifically built to bypass Ukraine, ships Russian gas directly to Germany. But even in Germany the rhetoric is shifting. A senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc, Michael Fuchs, told Reuters the decisive question in the debate about sanctions is what would really hurt Russia. "It could really hit Russia if Germany were to buy less gas and oil. A couple of percentage points less would send out an important signal," he said. Europe's focus on Ukraine has pushed down the agenda attempts to agree a wider climate and energy framework for 2030 to replace existing energy goals, which expire in 2020. A draft document sets a deadline of October for reaching a final deal, disappointing those saying an earlier agreement is vital to give investors in low-carbon energy confidence. The renewable energy lobby says the Ukraine crisis has strengthened the case for setting a strong target to use more renewables. Others, however, are pushing for nuclear, coal or shale gas, which could also help the EU to become more energy independent. (Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein in London, Jan Strupczewski, Luke Baker, Andreas Rinke, Martin Santa in Brussels and John Irish in Paris, editing by David Evans)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
Will Smith reveals that he and Jada Pinkett Smith decided at one point in their marriage that they would no longer be monogamous: 'Marriage for us can't be a prison'
Will Smith "delicately explained" in a new GQ interview that Jada Pinkett Smith wasn't "the only one engaging in other sexual relationships."
- Good Housekeeping
'Jeopardy!' legend James Holzhauer tweeted a message about current 'Jeopardy!' champion Matt Amodio and fans of the beloved ABC game show had mixed feelings about the exchange.
Here's where Jamie Lynn stands in Britney's legal battle with their father.
The North Port Police Department responded to a 911 call from Laundrie's family on Saturday reporting that the reality TV star was on their property.
Dua brought the vibe into 2021 with a visible thong/bra combo that gave—well, everything I needed it to give on this Monday.
- The Daily Beast
via Instagram/Orange County Sheriff's OfficeLocal authorities in Orlando, Florida, said Monday that a maintenance worker they had identified as a person of interest in the disappearance of 19-year-old Miya Marcano—who has been missing since Friday—was found dead in an apparent suicide.Orange County Sheriff John Mina said that Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, a maintenance employee where Miya Marcano lived and worked, had repeatedly expressed “romantic interest” in the Valencia College sophomore—and
Former first lady Melania Trump of the infamous “I don’t really care do u?” jacket has been dogged with rumors that she never enjoyed the White House life since before she even moved her bags to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave — in fact, her failure to pack up and move herself and son Barron Trump to […]
I mean...fair enough TBH!
- NBC Sports BayArea
Rumors swirled about their relationship throughout the week, and their brief postgame meeting at midfield didn't help matters.
- USA TODAY Sports - Golfweek
Check out what some European writers had to say about the weekend at Whistling Straits.
The Pitch Perfect star has lost more than 60 lbs. after revamping her diet and exercise habits
- Washington Examiner
Self-proclaimed shaman accused of starting California fire said she was trying to boil bear urine: Police
A California woman professing to be a shaman who was arrested and charged with igniting the wildfire that has thousands of homes under threat claimed the fire was started inadvertently while she was attempting to boil bear urine, authorities said.
- The Weather Network
A major pattern change is set to sweep much of the country, with some very sharp reversals of fortune in some cases.
- Charlotte Observer
The Hornets’ coach was asked Monday about LiAngelo Ball’s absence from the training camp roster.
- Roll Tide Wire
Lane Kiffin takes a jab at ESPN over Week 5 College GameDay destination!
- The Wrap
‘SNL’ Season 47: Beck Bennett and Lauren Holt Exit; Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong All Return
Plus, meet the show's three new featured players
Chuba Hubbard is the top waiver wire target in fantasy football this week, but if you can't snag him, there are plenty of other solid options.
- The Weather Network
Hurricane Sam is maintaining status quo as a Category 4 hurricane and will experience some fluctuations in strength in the next day or so before some weakening occurs.
- Saints Wire
Watch: Jameis Winston meets unamused Sean Payton after bizarre TD pass
- The Telegraph
A totally dominant American team hammered Europe to win the Ryder Cup in a record winning margin on Sunday. Padraig Harrington was at the helm of Europe's crushing loss - and Telegraph Sport looks at seven key areas where the Irishman could have done better.