EU to announce next steps on joint gas buying on Wednesday

The European Commission will announce its next steps on Wednesday on launching a scheme for countries to jointly purchase gas in global markets, the bloc's energy policy chief said on Tuesday.

"Tomorrow our services will announce next steps on joint gas purchase, and by doing so, by diversifying our gas supplies away from Russia, there is less room for Russia to manipulate our markets," EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson told a news conference.

The Commission is also preparing a proposal to extend beyond this winter a voluntary target for EU countries to cut their gas use 15% during winter months, Simson said. The EU introduced the target last year to attempt to avoid energy shortages and tame soaring gas prices.

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