ROME, April 26 (TASS) - The European Union intends to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas by two-thirds by the end of 2022 and bring it to zero by the end of 2027, European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said in an interview with the Messaggero newspaper published on Tuesday when commenting on the RePower EU program announced in March.

"As the evolution of various packages of sanctions will most probably include energy, we are dealing with it. The first goal is to reduce the dependence on Russian oil and gas by two-thirds by the end of this year to bring it to zero by 2027, while the second is to develop a strategy that will not slow down the climate shift," he said, adding that "the way towards reducing the dependence on Russian energy lies through renewable sources."

The commissioner admitted that the European Union will have to downgrade its outlook on economic growth of 4% projected earlier. "So far it is early to say whether this slowdown will lead to stagnation as there are certain positive moments inherited from the second half of 2021, such as a very low unemployment level and a very high level of saving activity," he explained. "The stagnation risk will also largely depend on the continuity of the conflict in Ukraine," Gentiloni noted.