At the meeting of the Energy Council in Brussels today, Ms Leonore Gewessler, Austria’s Federal Minister for Climate Action, and Mr Thomas Bareiß, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, signed an agreement on solidarity measures to safeguard the security of gas supply in the event of a supply crisis. The German-Austrian agreement once again highlights the two countries’ special relationship and sets a strong example: it is the second agreement of its kind in Europe. The first agreement on solidarity gas deliveries was signed between Germany and Denmark at the end of last year.

Federal Minister Leonore Gewessler said: "Today, we have signed an agreement on solidarity gas deliveries with Germany so that we can respond better to international gas crises. We are thus ensuring that we will stand together and support one another with gas deliveries in the event of supply bottlenecks in more difficult times. In the long term, however, it is clear that we in Austria need to replace fossil fuels with renewables since this is the only way to reduce our dependency on international gas companies. In addition, this creates added value in our country, and is good for the climate."

State Secretary Thomas Bareiß said: "Security of supply in Europe is important. The agreement defines how Austria and Germany can quickly support one another in the very unlikely case of an extreme gas shortage. This is an important signal, not least due to the current energy price crisis, because solidarity is what defines us in the EU and what makes us strong. I therefore greatly welcome the agreement signed today, and I hope that many more Member States will soon follow the example of Austria and Germany."

By signing the agreement, Germany and Austria have implemented the revised European Regulation concerning measures to safeguard the security of gas supply. This Regulation seeks to further reduce individual Member States’ dependency on non-European gas suppliers and to make them more resilient against shortages. In the event of an extreme gas shortage, solidarity deliveries are to be made as a measure of last resort to ensure that households, district heating systems and essential social service institutions in the Member State affected are supplied with gas. Pursuant to the Regulation, all Member States whose gas grids are directly linked or indirectly connected via third states need to conclude bilateral agreements on solidarity gas deliveries.