In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world faces a new geopolitical reality. EU has shown historic unity and taken decisive action in response to Russia’s aggressive behavior.
We must maintain the same unity and determination in order to become independent of Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible through accelerating the green transition towards climate neutrality in the EU by 2050 at the latest. Now is the time to be bold and to move ahead with determination with the green transition. Any delay or hesitation will only prolong our energy dependence.
We therefore welcome the ambitions in the European Commission’s “RepowerEU” communication that sets a course towards independence from Russian energy imports. As leaders agreed in Versailles this should happen as soon as possible. In this respect it will in particular be necessary to speed and scale up renewable energy, renewable gas and energy efficiency.
The Fit for 55 package is one of the key tools for this effort. According to the Commission, the Fit for 55 legislation will, when fully implemented, reduce the EU’s total gas consumption by 30 % by 2030 and contribute to full energy independence from Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible. Negotiations on the package should therefore be accelerated and ambitions ramped up.
We need a swift transition to renewable energy, as an affordable and secure energy source that will contribute to shield consumers from price hikes as a consequence of import dependency. Additionally, more efficient use of energy will strengthen the resilience of our energy systems and lower our import dependency on fossil fuels. An ambitious Fit for 55 package is not only necessary for the climate – it is also an efficient response to Russian aggression as well as the affordable and job creating path out of the crisis.
Given the extraordinary situation, we must also explore and pursue options to diversify our energy supply. This can and must be done within the framework of the EU’s ambitious climate targets and with respect of the do no harm principle. It should also be achieved in a way that avoids lock-in effects of fossil fuel production and use and instead keep the EU and Member States on a transitionary path towards climate neutrality by 2050.
An open and interconnected market-driven EU internal energy market is important to minimize price shocks across the EU in case of disruptions of supply. A strong ETS is the corner stone of the FF55 package, providing us with an effective tool to ensure a cost effective transition combined with ambitious sectoral measures and standards.
We therefore call on all Member States to unite in the ongoing FF55 negotiations, to ensure an ambitious and swift implementation of the Fit for 55 package.
This is key to making the EU fit for energy independence of Russian fossil fuels and the only way we can address the climate crisis, respond to aggressive Russian behavior, and ensure a clean, reliable and cheap independent EU energy supply for the future.
Leonore Gewessler Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology of Austria
Robert Habeck Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and Steffi Lemke Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection of Germany
Dan Jørgensen Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities of Denmark
Teresa Ribera Rodríguez Third Vice-President of the Government and Minister for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge of Spain
Emma Kari, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change of Finland
Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications of Ireland
Carole Dieschbourg Minister for the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development of Luxembourg
Artūrs Toms Plešs, Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia
Rob Jetten, Minister for Climate and Energy Policy of the Netherlands
Annika Strandhäll, Minister for Climate and the Environment of Sweden
Andrej Vizjak, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning of Slovenia