"The European Union faces the risk of further gas supply cuts from Russia, due to the Kremlin's weaponisation of gas exports, with almost half of our member states already affected by reduced deliveries," the EU executive said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Taking action now can reduce both the risk and the costs for Europe in case of further or full disruption, strengthening European energy resilience," it added.
The Commission said it was proposing "a new legislative tool and a European Gas Demand Reduction Plan" to reduce gas use in Europe by 15 percent between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023.
It added that "all consumers, public administrations, households, owners of public buildings, power suppliers and industry can and should take measures to save gas."
The EU executive promised to accelerate work to diversify supplies, including through joint purchases of gas "to strengthen the EU's possibility of sourcing alternative gas deliveries."
The European Commission's head, Ursula von der Leyen, said Russia was "using gas as a weapon" and added that energy security had to be addressed at the EU level.
"Let's act together to reduce gas use and provide a safety net for all EU countries," she appealed.
"EU countries should do their best now to save 15 percent of annual gas consumption," von der Leyen also said.
Source: IAR, PAP, ec.europa.eu