RRussia has suspended its gas supplies to Italy for the time being. The Russian company Gazprom announced that it could no longer deliver gas through Austria, the Italian supplier Eni announced on Saturday. Russian gas normally arrives at, and is distributed from, the Italian-Austrian border town of Tarvisio in Italy.
Gazprom said in its Telegram channel that the reason for the suspension of gas transport across the territory from Austria to Italy was “the refusal of the Austrian operator to confirm transport nominations”. In Austria there were regulatory changes at the end of September, which is why this problem has now arisen.
The Russian state-owned company did not give any details as to what exactly it was about. “Gazprom is working together with the Italian buyers to solve the problem,” the company said. An Eni spokesman told the Ansa news agency that, according to the company, Austria continues to receive Russian gas.
Meloni announces focus on national interests
By the time war broke out in Ukraine, Italy had received around 40 percent of its gas from Russia. Then the government in Rome and the semi-state corporation Eni concluded agreements with a number of other countries, such as Algeria, in order to minimize dependence on Moscow. In recent months, it has been said that Italy only gets around 25 percent of its gas from Russia. In the past few days, the delivery quantities had fallen sharply.
The likely next Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, meanwhile announced in her first public speech after the parliamentary elections almost a week ago that her country must put its own interests back in the foreground. “Italy must go back to defending its national interests first,” Meloni said in Milan. “That will change in the coming months.”
The party leader of the right-wing Fratelli d’Italia added that this does not mean a negative attitude towards others, but a positive attitude towards oneself. Meloni believes that Italy allows itself to be bossed around by European partners and Brussels and does not have equal rights. She also made this claim during the election campaign and then, as the strongest party in a right-wing alliance, won an absolute majority in parliament last Sunday.
“We must fight speculation”
Meloni said other countries in Europe were also putting their own interests ahead of those of the EU. This can be seen as criticism of the federal government, which is putting together an aid package of up to 200 billion euros for the Germans in the fight against the energy crisis. In Italy, this was interpreted as a lack of solidarity and going it alone – by the way, also by the still incumbent Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Meloni had not appeared publicly for days after the election night and claimed that she wanted to work undisturbed and concentrate on the pressing problems. Only in the next few weeks is she likely to receive a mandate from the President to form a government.
At her first appearance as a guest at an event hosted by the Coldiretti agricultural association, the 45-year-old emphasized that the fight against high costs is currently a priority. Meloni said that states should not simply compensate for inflation by helping their citizens. “Because then we give the money to the speculators,” said the politician and added: “We have to fight speculation.”
Before the performance, Meloni met with her ally Silvio Berlusconi from the Forza Italia party. In addition, there is the Lega of Matteo Salvini in the legal alliance. This week, Italy has been speculating heavily on how ministries will be divided among the three parties. Meloni did not give any details about this.