LAST UPDATE: 12:27
“Europe can reduce its energy dependence on Russia faster than previously thought,” Mario Draghi told the Corriere della Sera in an interview with Bloomberg.
“Differentiation is possible and achievable relatively quickly, sooner than we imagined just a month ago,” the Italian prime minister said after reaching an agreement to increase gas imports from Algeria.
“We have gas reserves and we will have new gas from other suppliers,” Draghi said, adding that the effects of any “containment measures” would be mild.
Italy’s proposal to cut gas prices used to generate electricity in order to reduce its dependence on Russia is “gaining consensus” among other European countries, Draghi said.
“Europe continues to finance Russia by buying, among other things, oil and gas at a price that has nothing to do with historical values and production costs,” he said.
Italy currently supplies about 40 percent of its gas from Russia, and Draghi has been looking for alternative sources since President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine in February.
He also said that he had begun to agree with those who said that talking to Putin was “useless” and a “waste of time”.
“I have the impression that the horror of the war with its massacre, with what they have done to children and women, is completely independent of the words and phone calls that are made.”
The Italian government is “focused on what needs to be done” and Draghi has no intention of leaving, dismissing speculation of a highly fragmented coalition. In next year’s national elections, Draghi said he would not run and would run as a “mere voter”.