Macron urges French to save energy and seeks 10% drop in use

France, Europe, President Emmanuel Macron
French President- Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for a 10% reduction in the country’s energy use in coming weeks and months to avoid the risk of rationing and cuts this winter, amid tensions with supplier Russia over the war in Ukraine.

Mr Macron warned on Monday that forced energy savings might have to be considered in coming months if voluntary efforts are not sufficient.

He said energy rationing plans are being prepared “in case” they are needed, and that “cuts will happen as a last resort”.

“The best energy is that which we don’t consume,” the French leader said at a news conference, where he urged French businesses and households to save energy, including by turning down heating and air conditioning.

Speaking after a videoconference on Monday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Mr Macron announced a plan to boost gas supplies to Germany from France to make up for a drop in Russian gas supplies from the east.

In exchange, Mr Macron said Germany will continue supplying electricity to France to make up for shortages caused by maintenance under way on many French nuclear reactors.

The leaders spoke before an emergency European Union energy ministers meeting on Friday about how the continent can coordinate to keep warm this winter if Russia cuts off gas supplies.

Mr Macron said France and Germany support the idea of requiring energy companies that are making big profits on recent spikes in gas and oil prices to make some sort of “contribution” to public coffers, and a price cap on Russian gas.

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