This morning, the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, addressed the European Parliament Plenary on the preparation of the European Council meeting of 21-22 October, which focused on the recent spike in energy prices. Recalling that we import 90% of the gas we consume, the President underlined: “Europe today is too reliant on gas and too dependent on gas imports. This makes us vulnerable. The answer has to do with diversifying our suppliers. But also keeping the role of natural gas as transitional fuel and, crucially, with speeding up the transition to clean energy. The European Green Deal is in the mid- and long-term a pillar of European energy sovereignty in the 21st century.” She also described the measures that can be deployed to address the situation in the short term, through the toolbox presented last week: “Our priority is to give relief to vulnerable families and businesses. Some measures can be taken very swiftly, under current EU rules. This includes relief for businesses – especially SMEs – through state aid, targeted support to consumers, and cuts to energy taxes and levies. This is where Member States can act very quickly.” Through the EU's recovery programme NextGenerationEU, €36 billion has already been earmarked for clean energy, from hydrogen to offshore wind power. Only “true European teamwork” will be able to achieve this, the President said. Looking ahead to the climate summit at the end of the month, she added: “The upcoming COP26 in Glasgow will be the moment for the whole world to speed up action. Because the world is not yet on track to match our commitments under the Paris Agreement. So much more needs to be done to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels. The European Union will bring to Glasgow the highest level of ambition. We do it for Europe. We do it for our planet. And we do it for all future generations.” Read the full speech in English, French and German, and watch it back here.
- Publication date
- 20 October 2021