Macedonia is among the five countries which would suffer the most if Russia halt gas export to Europe, according to the European Union (EU)'s gas stress test report published on Thursday in Brussels.
If a prolonged gas supply should disrupt, Macedonia, Finland, Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia would be affected most. These five countries would miss at least 60 percent of the gas which means even private households could be left out in the cold, given a potential crises in the coming months.
The Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute puts the gas supplies to Europe once more at risk, as in 2009. With the winter approaching, the EU exercised modelling conducted by 38 European countries to analyse the resilience of the EU energy system and figure out where the biggest shortfalls would arise and how they could be mitigated.
Interruption of Russian gas supply would have a substantial impact in the EU. But if member states cooperate and allow the market forces to work as long as possible, more gas will continue to be delivered to homes and companies, the EU concluded.
"For the very first time, we have a complete picture of the risks and possible solutions. If we work together, show solidarity and implement the recommendations of this report, no household in the EU has to be left out in the cold this winter," Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Energy, Gunther H. Oettinger said.
European countries are recommended to follow a market-based approach and avoid interventionist. In a functioning market, price signals will attract new deliveries of gas and limit demand. Non-market measures including the release of strategic stocks, forced fuels switching and demand curtailment would be implemented only when the market fails.
To alleviate the situation, countries are recommended to increase energy coordination with each other including through the maximisation of interconnector capacity and removal of restrictions to cross-border energy trade.
If European countries work together, instead of adopting purely national measures, then less consumers will be cut off from the gas. In this scenario, no household in the EU would have to be affected, the report reads.
Today, the EU imports 53 percent of the energy it consumes. Energy dependence relates to crude oil (almost 90 percent), to natural gas (66 percent), and to a lesser extent to solid fuels (42 percent) as well as nuclear fuel (40 percent). Around half of the EU's primary energy consumption (48 percent) is used for space and water heating.