PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for a sharp 10% reduction in the country’s energy use in coming weeks and months to avoid the risk of rationing and cuts this winter, amid tensions with supplier Russia over the war in Ukraine.
Macron warned Monday that forced energy savings might have to be considered in coming months if voluntary efforts aren’t sufficient. He said energy rationing plans are being prepared “in case” they’re needed, and that “cuts will happen as a last resort.”
“The best energy is that which we don’t consume,” the French leader said at a news conference, where he urged French businesses and households to save energy, including by turning down heating and air conditioning.
Speaking after a videoconference Monday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Macron announced a plan to boost gas supplies to Germany from France to make up for a drop in Russian gas supplies from the east. In exchange, Macron said Germany will continue supplying electricity to France to make up for shortages caused by maintenance underway on many French nuclear reactors.
The leaders spoke before an emergency European Union energy ministers meeting Friday about how the continent can coordinate to keep warm this winter if Russia cuts off gas supplies.
Macron said France and Germany support the idea of requiring energy companies that are making big profits on recent spikes in gas and oil prices to make some sort of “contribution” to public coffers, and a price cap on Russian gas.
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