(Bloomberg) -- Germany is calling for the European Union to do more to curtail the last 20% of Russian energy imports still coming to the bloc’s shores ahead of a meeting of ministers in Brussels this week.

Europe’s top economy, along with the Czech Republic, is asking the bloc to set up a high-level working group to identify ways to phase out the remaining Russian gas supplies — including liquefied natural gas — as well as oil and nuclear material still coming to Europe, according to a letter seen by Bloomberg News. 

The bloc’s energy ministers are due to meet Thursday to take stock of the so-called REPowerEU plan put in place after the invasion of Ukraine to cut back dependence on energy supplies from Moscow. 

“For the sake of our energy sovereignty and security, we must continue to systematically reduce imports of gas, oil, and also radioactive material from Russia,” the letter from German Economy Minister Robert Habeck and Czech Trade Minister Jozef Sikela to Belgium’s Energy Minister Tinne van der Straeten said. Brussels holds the rotating presidency of the EU. 

While the EU has managed to cut energy imports from what was once its biggest supplier by 80% since Vladimir Putin’s attack, many countries in the bloc remain reliant on Russian gas as well as radioactive material to fuel nuclear power stations. With piped gas supplies cut off after the war, imports of LNG from Moscow increased to around 18 billion cubic meters in 2023 from less than 14 billion cubic meters before the attack, according to EU data.

The bloc has previously said that it wants to be free of Russian fossil fuels by 2027.

Last week, the EU adopted measures that would enable member states to effectively ban Russian shipments of liquefied natural gas without new energy sanctions. However, countries say they cannot act unilaterally because that would simply shift supplies elsewhere in the bloc. Any measures would also need to consider the impact on energy security.

Spain, which has seen deliveries of Russian LNG double since the invasion of Ukraine, is one of those also calling for the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch to provide more guidance on how the measure can be used. Finland is one of the few countries that will use the ban even though its imports of Russian gas are near zero.

The EU has also proposed targeting several LNG projects and banning the transshipment of Russian LNG from the EU to third countries to prevent Moscow from raising revenues from the fuel, Bloomberg previously reported.



--With assistance from Ewa Krukowska.

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