Shedding light on energy - 2023 edition
Lighting, heating, moving, producing: energy is vital for our day-to-day life.
Without energy, people and businesses cannot function. Turning on our computers or starting our cars are actions that we take for granted, yet they represent the final stage of a complex process.
This publication helps to make the complex process of energy more understandable. It replies to the needs of those who are not familiar with the energy sector as well as more experienced users.
This section focuses on the different energy sources available in the EU, the energy produced in the EU as well as the energy imported.
41% of energy produced in the EU in 2021 came from renewables
The energy available in the European Union (EU) comes from energy produced in the EU and from energy imported from third countries. Therefore, in order to get a good overview of the total energy available in the EU, energy production should always be put in context with imports.
In 2021, the EU produced around 44% of its own energy, while 56% was imported.
Petroleum products have the largest share in the EU energy mix
In 2021, the energy mix in the EU, meaning the range of energy sources available, mainly consisted of five different sources: crude oil and (34%), natural gas (23%), (17%), (13%) and (12%).
The shares of the different energy sources in the vary considerably between Member States. In 2021, the share of petroleum products in available energy was highest in Cyprus (86%), Malta (85%) and Luxembourg (61%), while natural gas was a significant energy source in Italy (40%), the Netherlands (35%) and in Hungary (34%). Renewables had the largest share in Sweden (48%) and Denmark (41%), while nuclear energy accounted for 41% of energy available in France and 25% in Sweden. The share of solid fossil fuels was highest in Estonia (56%) and Poland (43%).
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EU energy production
The in the EU is spread across a range of different energy sources: , natural gas, crude oil, and (such as hydro, wind and solar energy).
Renewable energies account for the highest share in energy production
Renewable energy (41% of total EU energy production) was the largest contributing source to primary energy production in the EU in 2021. Nuclear energy (31%) was the second largest source, followed by solid fuels (18%), natural gas (6%) and crude oil (3%).
However, the production of energy is very different from one Member State to another. In 2021, renewable energy was the exclusive source of primary production in Malta (in other words, this country did not produce any other type of energy) and represented the main source in a number of Member States, with shares of over 95% in Latvia, Portugal and Cyprus. The significance of nuclear energy was particularly high in France (76% of total national energy production), Belgium (70%) and Slovakia (60%). Solid fuels were the main source of energy produced in Poland (72%), Estonia (56%) and Czechia (45%). Natural gas had the largest share in the Netherlands (58%) and Ireland (42%), while the share of crude oil was largest in Denmark (35%).
Energy imports and dependency
For its own consumption, the EU also needs energy that is imported from third countries. In 2021, the main imported energy product was petroleum products (including crude oil, which is the main component), accounting for almost two thirds of energy imports into the EU (64%), followed by natural gas (25%) and solid fossil fuels (6%).
Russia main EU supplier of crude oil, natural gas and solid fossil fuels in 2021
In 2021, more than half of the extra-EU crude oil imports came from five origins: Russia (28%), the United States and Norway (9% each), Libya and Kazakhstan (6% each). A similar analysis shows that nearly three quarters of the EU's imports of natural gas came from Russia (44%), Norway (16%) and Algeria (12%), while more than half of solid fossil fuel (mostly coal) imports originated from Russia (52%), followed by Australia (17%) and the United States (15%).
Due to the EU sanctions imposed as a consequence of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine in 2022, this situation is subject to constant change. The latest developments can be monitored via Eurostat’s monthly data.
Different patterns among the EU Member States
In 2021, more than 85% of energy imports were petroleum products in Cyprus and Malta, and a third or more was natural gas in Italy and Hungary. The share of solid fuel imports was highest in Slovakia (17%) and Czechia (15%).
You can discover the main trading partners of your country and see the different trade flows using the interactive visualisation tool on energy trade.
EU dependency rate on the fall since 2019
The shows the extent to which an economy relies upon imports in order to meet its energy needs. It is measured by the share of net imports (imports minus exports) in gross inland energy consumption (meaning the sum of energy produced and net imports).
In the EU in 2021, the import dependency rate was equal to 56%, which means that over half of the EU’s energy needs were met by net imports. However, the dependency rate varied across the Member States, ranging from 90% or over in Malta, Luxembourg and Cyprus to around 1% in Estonia.
This section presents the different types of energy consumed, electricity and energy prices, and outlines the energy flows from production to final consumption.
29% of energy in the EU is consumed by the transport sector
Types of energy consumed
Out of the in the EU, around two thirds is (final energy consumption), for example EU citizens, industry, transport etc. The difference – around one third – is mainly lost during electricity generation and distribution, used to support energy production processes or in non-energy uses (like asphalt or bitumen).
Petroleum products are the most consumed
In the EU in 2021, (such as heating oil, petrol, diesel fuel), which represent 35% of final energy consumption, were the most consumed. Electricity and gas (natural and manufactured gas) ranked second with 23% each, followed by direct use of (not transformed into electricity, for example wood, solar thermal, geothermal or biogas for space heating or hot water production) (12%), (such as district heating) (5%) and (mostly coal) (3%). The real consumption of renewable energy is higher than 12% because other renewable sources, such as hydropower, wind power or solar photovoltaic, are included in electricity.
Within the EU Member States, the final energy consumption pattern varies considerably. In 2021, petroleum products made up more than 55% of final energy consumption in Luxembourg and Cyprus. Electricity accounted for over 30% in Malta and Sweden, while gas made up more than 30% in the Netherlands, Hungary, Belgium and Italy. Renewable energies accounted for over 25% of final energy consumption in Finland, Sweden and Latvia.
The transport sector accounts for nearly 30% of final energy consumption in the EU
Energy is consumed by different : households (energy consumed in citizen’s dwellings), transport (rail, road, domestic aviation or inland shipping), industry, services (including commercial and public services), and agriculture and forestry.
Looking at which sectors in the EU consume the most energy, the transport sector (29% of final energy consumption) consumed the most energy in 2021, followed by households (28%), industry (26%), services (14%), and agriculture and forestry (3%).
From production to final consumption
To properly interpret energy statistics, it is necessary to distinguish between primary and secondary energy products. A primary energy product is extracted or captured directly from natural resources, such as crude oil, firewood, natural gas or coal. This process is called primary production. Secondary energy products (such as electricity or motor gasoline) are produced as a result of a transformation process, either from a primary or from a different secondary energy product. Final consumers can use primary (for example natural gas for heating) or secondary energy products (such as motor gasoline to fill up your car tank).
From source to switch
Renewables lead in electricity generation in the EU
Around 24% of the is and it comes from different sources. In 2021 in the EU, was the leading source in electricity production (38%), ahead of (36%) and nuclear power plants (25%).
Among renewable sources, the highest share of electricity came from wind turbines and hydropower plants (both 13%), biofuels and solar power (both 6%).
The sources of electricity production vary among the Member States. In 2021 in Denmark, nearly half of electricity production (49%) came from wind energy, while 60% of electricity production in Austria came from hydro power plants. Over 80% of electricity production came from fossil fuels in Malta, Cyprus and Poland, while nearly 70% of electricity production came from nuclear power plants in France, followed by Slovakia and Belgium with around 50% each.
Electricity and gas prices
Electricity prices for households highest in Denmark, Belgium and Germany
In order to compare prices of electricity and gas among the Member States, national prices have been converted into euro. Exchange rate fluctuations can have an effect on prices expressed in euro for non-euro area Member States.
In the first half of 2022, household electricity prices, including taxes and levies, were highest in Denmark (€46 per 100 kWh), Belgium (€34 per 100 kWh) and Germany (€33 per 100 kWh), while the lowest prices were recorded in the Netherlands (€5 per 100 kWh) and Hungary (€9 per 100 kWh).
The share of taxes and levies in the electricity price was largest in Denmark (48%) and Germany (42%), while it was smallest in the Netherlands, where the value was negative (-4%), followed by Latvia and Greece.
Natural gas prices for household consumers, including taxes and levies, were highest in Sweden (€22 per 100 kWh) and Denmark (€16 per 100 kWh), and lowest in Hungary (€3 per 100 kWh) and Croatia (€4 per 100 kWh).
The share of taxes and levies in gas price was highest in the Netherlands (51%), while it was smallest in Latvia, Greece and Bulgaria, where it was negative.
Gas prices for non-household consumers highest in Sweden and Finland
For non-household consumers, electricity prices (excluding VAT and other recoverable taxes and levies) in the first half of 2022 ranged from €30 per 100 kWh in Greece to €8 per 100 kWh in Finland.
Natural gas prices for non-household consumers (excluding VAT and other recoverable taxes and levies) were highest in and Finland (€14 per 100 kWh each), and lowest in Belgium and Germany (€5 per 100 kWh each).
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An energy balance presents energy products (solid fuels, oil and petroleum products, gas, renewable energies, nuclear heat, electricity, etc.) of a country and their production, transformation and consumption by different types of economic actors (industry, transport, etc.). It allows you to see the total amount of energy extracted from the environment, traded, transformed and used by end-users.
Energy balances can be graphically represented through flow diagrams (also called Sankey diagrams), which allow users to visualise the interrelation of energy commodities in a more illustrative and intuitive way. These flows can be combined, split and traced through a series of events or processing stages.
The Sankey energy tool is based on a series of black nodes connected by flows. The nodes represent events or processes (imports, final energy consumption etc.) while the flows in different colours represent energy products. The width of each stream in the flow represents the amount of energy (fuel) in the flow.
Click on the link below to open the tool and build your own diagram!
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Energy and environment
This section presents data on greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
22% of energy consumed in the EU in 2021 came from renewables
Greenhouse gas emissions
Climate change is a threat to sustainable development. After years of extensive research, the scientific community agrees that man-made are the dominant cause of the Earth’s average temperature increases over the past 250 years (IPCC, 2014). Man-made GHG emissions are primarily a by-product of burning of fuels in power plants, cars or homes. Farming and waste decaying in landfills are also sources of GHG emissions.
EU greenhouse gas emissions declined steadily from 2010 until 2014, rose slightly in the period 2015-2017 and dropped again in the period 2018-2020. In 2020 emissions fell by over 10% compared to 2019, the sharpest drop since 1990.
In 2020, EU GHG emissions were over 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent lower than in 1990. This corresponds to a 32% reduction compared with 1990 levels, thus exceeding the EU reduction target of 20% by 2020. The new target for 2030 is a 55% reduction of GHG emissions compared to 1990.
GHG emissions were below 1990 levels in 25 Member States. The largest reductions, over 50%, were recorded in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.
Share of most sectors in GHG on decline
In 2020, fuel combustion by users had the highest share (28%) in total greenhouse gas emissions, ahead of the energy producing industries (25%). Compared with 1990, the share decreased for all sectors except transport, where it rose from 15% in 1990 to 23% in 2020, and agriculture, whose share slightly increased from 10% to 11%.
Energy industries: Emissions from fuel combustion and to a certain extent fugitive emissions from energy industries, for example in public electricity, heat production and petroleum refining.
Fuel combustion by users (excl. transport): Emissions from fuel combustion by manufacturing industries and construction and small scale fuel combustion, for example, space heating and hot water production for households, commercial buildings, agriculture and forestry.
Transport: Emissions from fuel combustion of domestic and international aviation, road transport, railways and domestic navigation.
Agriculture: This includes among others emissions from livestock-enteric fermentation – greenhouse gases that are produced when animals digest their food, emissions from manure management and emissions from agricultural soils.
Industrial processes: Emissions occurring from chemical reactions during the production of e.g. cement, glass, etc.
One of the priorities of the Energy Union strategy is to increase energy efficiency, mainly by cutting the EU’s overall energy use and managing energy in a more cost-effective way. Improving energy efficiency contributes to achieving energy savings, protecting the environment, mitigating climate change and reducing the EU's reliance on external suppliers of oil and gas.
In concrete terms, using less energy means reducing , which is the total domestic energy demand, and , which is the energy actually consumed by end users, not including what the energy sector needs itself as well as transformation and distribution losses.
Energy consumption up in 2021
In 2021, primary energy consumption reached 1 309 (Mtoe). This is a 5.9% increase compared with 2020, when consumption reached its lowest level due to the impact of the pandemic, but still the second-lowest level since 1990 (the first year for which data are available). The 2021 level is 16.1% away from the EU 2030 target (no more than 1 128 Mtoe primary energy consumption).
Final energy consumption also increased significantly in 2021 (to 968 Mtoe, +6.8% compared with 2020) but was still 1.8% lower than in 2019. The 2021 level is 14.4% away from the 2030 target (no more than 846 Mtoe).
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From wind to watts
The at EU level reached 21.8% in 2021, a slight decrease compared with 2020 and the first decrease ever recorded. The lifting of the restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic played a role for this decrease. The current EU target is to reach 32% renewables by 2030.
Sweden had by far the highest share of renewables in consumption (62.6%) in 2021, ahead of Finland (43.1%) and Latvia (42.1%). The lowest proportions of renewables were recorded in Luxembourg (11.7%), Malta (12.2%), the Netherlands (12.3%) and Ireland (12.5%). Differences stem from variations in the endowment with natural resources, mostly in the potential for building hydropower plants and in the availability of biomass.
The European Green Deal is the ambitious EU climate policy that aims for Europe to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050.
In particular, reaching this target will require action by all sectors of our economy, including investing in environmentally-friendly technologies, decarbonising the energy sector, ensuring buildings are more energy efficient or rolling out cleaner forms of private and public transport.
The Energy Union is the main energy policy instrument to deliver the transformations required to decarbonise our energy system. The goal of the Energy Union is to give EU consumers – households and businesses – secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy.
In order to ensure that policies and measures at various levels are coherent, complementary and sufficiently ambitious, the Energy Union adopted a strong governance mechanism, based on integrated national energy and climate plans.
Using reliable high quality data to monitor the policy targets under the European Green Deal and the Energy Union packages will enhance the credibility of EU energy policy.
The State of the Energy Union monitors progress made to bring about the transition to a low-carbon, secure and competitive economy. It also highlights each year the issues where further attention is needed.
Bunkers include all dutiable petroleum products loaded aboard a vessel for consumption by that vessel. International maritime bunkers describe the quantities of fuel oil delivered to ships of all flags that are engaged in international navigation. It is the fuel used to power these ships. International navigation may take place at sea, on inland lakes and waterways, and in coastal waters. International maritime bunkers do not include fuel oil consumption by: ships engaged in domestic navigation; whether a vessel is engaged in domestic or international navigation is determined only by the ship's port of departure and port of arrival — not by the flag or nationality of the ship; fishing vessels; military forces.
Combined heat and power describes the simultaneous production of both useful heat (that can be used, for example, in industrial processes or city heating schemes) and electricity in a single process or unit.
Derived heat is used for warming spaces and for industrial processes and is obtained by burning combustible fuels like coal, natural gas, oil, renewables (biofuels) and wastes, or also by transforming electricity to heat in electric boilers or heat pumps.
City heating, also known as district heating, is the distribution of heat through a network to one or several buildings using hot water or steam produced centrally, often from co-generation plants, from waste heat from industry, or from dedicated heating systems.
Electricity denotes the set of physical phenomena related to electrical charges. It allows to store and transfer energy, or to consume it through electrical appliances. It has a very wide range of applications in almost all kinds of human activities ranging from industrial production, household use, agriculture or commerce and it is normally used for running machines, lighting and heating.
The energy dependency rate shows the proportion of energy that an economy must import. It is defined as net energy imports (imports minus exports) divided by gross inland energy consumption plus fuel supplied to international maritime bunkers, expressed as a percentage. A negative dependency rate indicates a net exporter of energy while a dependency rate in excess of 100 % indicates that energy products have been stocked.
Energy intensity measures the energy consumption of an economy and its energy efficiency. It is the ratio between gross inland consumption of energy and gross domestic product (GDP). Gross inland consumption of energy is calculated as the sum of gross inland consumption of five energy types: coal, electricity, oil, natural gas and renewable energy sources. The GDP figures are taken at constant prices to avoid the impact of inflation. Since gross inland consumption is measured in kilograms of oil equivalent and GDP in EUR 1 000, this ratio is measured in kgoe per EUR 1 000.
Energy end user categories include private households, agriculture, industry, road transport, air transport (aviation), other transport (rail, inland navigation) and services.
Final energy consumption is the total energy consumed by end users, such as households, industry and agriculture. It is the energy which reaches the final consumer's door and excludes that which is used by the energy sector itself. Final energy consumption excludes energy used by the energy sector, including for deliveries, and transformation. It also excludes fuel transformed in the electrical power stations of industrial auto-producers and coke transformed into blast-furnace gas where this is not part of overall industrial consumption but of the transformation sector. Final energy consumption in 'households, services, etc.' covers quantities consumed by private households, commerce, public administration, services, agriculture and fisheries.
Fossil fuel is a generic term for non-renewable natural energy sources such as coal, natural gas and oil that were formed from plants and animals (biomass) that existed in the geological past (for example, hundreds of millions of years ago). Fossil fuels are carbon-based and currently supply most human energy requirements.
Gas includes mostly natural gas and derived gases.
A gigajoule, abbreviated as GJ, is a unit of measurement of energy consumption: a gigajoule is equal to one thousand million joules.
Gigawatt hours, abbreviated as GWh, is a unit of energy representing one billion (1 000 000 000) watt hours and is equivalent to one million kilowatt hours. Gigawatt hours are often used as a measure of the output of large electricity power stations.
Greenhouse gases constitute a group of gases contributing to global warming and climate change. The Kyoto Protocol, an environmental agreement adopted by many of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1997 to curb global warming, covers six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and the so-called F-gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Converting them to carbon dioxide (or CO2) equivalents makes it possible to compare them and to determine their individual and total contributions to global warming.
Gross available energy means the overall supply of energy for all activities on the territory of the country. It includes energy needs for energy transformation (including generating electricity from combustible fuels), support operations of the energy sector itself, transmission and distribution losses, final energy consumption (industry, transport, households, services, agriculture, ...) and the use of fossil fuel products for non-energy purposes (e.g. in the chemical industry). It also includes fuel purchased within the country that is used elsewhere (e.g. international aviation, international maritime bunkers and, in the case of road transport “fuel tourism”).
Gross inland energy consumption, sometimes abbreviated as gross inland consumption, is the total energy available of a country or region. It represents the quantity of energy necessary to satisfy inland consumption of the geographical entity under consideration. Gross inland energy consumption covers consumption by the energy sector itself; distribution and transformation losses; final energy consumption by end users; 'statistical differences' (not already captured in the figures on primary energy consumption and final energy consumption). Gross inland consumption does not include energy (fuel oil) provided to international maritime bunkers. It is calculated as primary production plus recovered products, net imports and variations of stocks minus maritime bunkers.
Gross electricity generation or gross electricity production refers to the process of producing electrical energy. It is the total amount of electrical energy produced by transforming other forms of energy, for example nuclear or wind power. It is commonly expressed in gigawatt hours (GWh). Total gross electricity generation covers gross electricity generation in all types of power plants. The gross electricity generation at plant level is defined as the electricity measured at the outlet of the main transformers, i.e. including the amount of electricity used in the plant auxiliaries and in the transformers.
Kilogram(s) of oil equivalent, usually abbreviated as kgoe, is a normalized unit of energy. By convention it is equivalent to the approximate amount of energy that can be extracted from one kilogram of crude oil. It is a standardized unit, assigned a net calorific value of 41 868 kilojoules/kg and may be used to compare the energy from different sources.
Kilowatt hours, abbreviated as KWh, is a unit of energy representing one thousand watt hours. Kilowatt hours are often used as a measure of domestic energy consumption.
Net electricity generation or net electricity production is equal to gross electricity generation minus the consumption of power stations' auxiliary services.
Nuclear heat is the thermal energy produced in a nuclear power plant (nuclear energy). It is obtained from the nuclear fission of atoms, usually of uranium and plutonium.
Primary production of energy is any extraction of energy products in a useable form from natural sources. This occurs either when natural sources are exploited (for example, in coal mines, crude oil fields, hydro power plants) or in the fabrication of biofuels. Transforming energy from one form into another, such as electricity or heat generation in thermal power plants (where primary energy sources are burned), or coke production in coke ovens, is not primary production.
Renewable energy sources, also called renewables, are energy sources that replenish (or renew) themselves naturally. Renewable energy sources include the following:
Ambient heat (heat pumps): heat pumps that are driven by electricity or other supplementary energy, to extract (stored) energy from the air, the ground or the water and converts/transfers this into energy to be used elsewhere (e.g. to heat space via underfloor heating systems and/or water in domestic buildings).
Biomass (solid biofuels): organic, non-fossil material of biological origin, which may be used for heat production or electricity generation. It includes: charcoal; wood and wood waste; black liquor, bagasse, animal waste and other vegetal materials and residuals.
Biogases: gases composed principally of methane and carbon dioxide produced by anaerobic fermentation of biomass, or by thermal processes. It includes: landfill gas; sewage sludge gas; other biogases from anaerobic digestion; bio gases from thermal processes.
Liquid biofuels are liquid fuels from a non-fossil biological origin and a renewable energy source, to be distinguished from fossil fuels. Biofuels can be split up into four categories: bio gasoline, biodiesel, bio jet kerosene (aviation fuel) and other liquid biofuels.
Renewable waste: portion of waste produced by households, industry, hospitals and the tertiary sector which is biological material collected by local authorities and incinerated at specific installations.
Hydropower: the electricity generated from the potential and kinetic energy of water in hydroelectric plants (the electricity generated in pumped storage plants is not included).
Geothermal energy: the energy available as heat from within the earth’s crust, usually in the form of hot water or steam.
Wind energy: the kinetic energy of wind converted into electricity in wind turbines.
Solar energy: solar radiation exploited for solar heat (hot water) and electricity production.
Tide, wave, ocean: mechanical energy derived from tidal movement, wave motion or ocean current and exploited for electricity generation.
Renewable energy sources cover solar thermal and photovoltaic energy, hydro (including tide, wave and ocean energy), wind, geothermal energy and all forms of biomass (including biological waste and liquid biofuels). The contribution of renewable energy from heat pumps is also covered for the Member States for which this information was reported. The renewable energy delivered to final consumers (industry, transport, households, services including public services, agriculture, forestry and fisheries) is the numerator of this indicator. The denominator, the gross final energy consumption of all energy sources, covers total energy delivered for energy purposes to final consumers as well as the transmission and distribution losses for electricity and heat. It should be noted that exports/imports of electricity are not considered as renewable energy unless a specific intergovernmental agreement has been signed. For more information: The national shares of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy are calculated according to specific calculation provisions of Directive 2009/28/EC.
Solid fuels are fossil fuels covering various types of coals and solid products derived from coals. They consist of carbonised vegetable matter and usually have the physical appearance of a black or brown rock.
Tonne(s) of oil equivalent, abbreviated as toe, is a normalized unit of energy. By convention it is equivalent to the approximate amount of energy that can be extracted from one tonne of crude oil.
Total fuels is the sum of all energy products and is composed of the following fuel families: Solid fuels (coal), total petroleum products (crude oil and derived petroleum products), gas, nuclear heat, derived heat, renewable energies, electricity and waste (non-renewable).
Total petroleum products are fossil fuels (usually in liquid state) and include crude oil and all products derived from it (e.g. when processed in oil refineries), including motor gasoline, diesel oil, fuel oil, etc.
Waste (non-renewable) consists of materials coming from combustible industrial, institutional, hospital and household wastes such as rubber, plastics, waste fossil oils and other similar types of wastes, which can be either solid or liquid.
About this publication
Shedding light on energy in the EU is an interactive publication released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Information on data
Data in the visualisations are linked directly to the online database up to the reference year mentioned in the title of each visualisation. The accompanying text was finalised during March 2023 and reflects the data situation at that moment in time. The energy interactive tools referred to in the publication are continuously updated.
For more information
- Thematic section on energy statistics
- Database on energy statistics
- Statistics Explained articles on energy
- Statistics 4 beginners articles on energy statistics
- Interactive energy visualisation tools
If you have questions on the data, please contact Eurostat User Support.
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