BERLIN — Germany’s neighbors are reluctant to sign bilateral agreements with Berlin on sharing gas in an emergency, Welt newspaper reported on Thursday, citing an economy ministry document.
With Russia reducing its gas exports to Europe’s biggest economy, Germany has already agreed such pacts with Denmark and Austria, aiming to avoid a panicked response if a supply crisis strikes and reduce the risk that countries would hoard fuel.
In July, the economy ministry said Germany had been working intensively and for a long time on further agreements with other neighbors such as Poland and Italy, but a report by the economy ministry to German lawmakers said these talks were proving to be more difficult than expected, Welt reported.
“Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland are evading the constructive negotiations and conclusion of the bilateral solidarity agreements with us,” the report said.
The economy ministry was not immediately available to comment on the report.
European Union members agreed in July to free up fuel to share around in a supply crisis, but it was up to individual countries to sort out how that sharing will happen in practice.
The report said the Italian government could only re-engage in the talks after the parliamentary election due at the end of September, and it was not foreseeable when Berlin could sign a trilateral agreement with Switzerland and Italy.
It said Germany’s neighbors were reluctant to sign due to disagreements over compensation Berlin would have to pay to its companies for expropriating their gas to offer to neighbors. (Reporting by Riham Alkousaa Editing by Mark Potter)