The European Commission has vowed to create a new emergency plan for member states to be able to reduce or remove Russian energy products, including pushing for more renewable sources of energy.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the Commission was working on a draft of an emergency plan to help European Union countries deal with the fallout of limited Russian energy imports as the EU looks to limit the amount of Russian oil, coal and gas being bought.
We are preparing emergency plans for Europe,” von der Leyen stated and added, “Energy prices are high. People — rightly so — expect us to do something about it,” Greek newspaper Ekathimerini reports. “We need a good, common plan that the energy flows, or the gas flows, where it is needed most,” she added.
President von der Leyen spoke alongside Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala who added that the ongoing energy situation and rising prices were “suffocating” his country’s economy and added, “this is our biggest test for the coming months.”
“The next step is to make available to the EU member states the 300 billion euros that come along with REPowerEU, and therefore, of course, we count on your presidency to reach rapid agreement on the adoption of the REPowerEU regulation,” von der Leyen said, referencing the REPowerEU package that looks to make major investments in renewable energy and looks to use other forms of energy more efficiently.
President von der Leyen has previously spoken of emergency plans that could involve fuel rationing. stating last month, “We have emergency plans in place that have the whole width of necessary steps, from the efficiency element, to energy savings, to prioritising the needs.”
Last month, President von der Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi held talks in Israel as a possible alternative for Russian gas as Israel has become a net exporter in recent years.
However, much of the infrastructure needed to transport the gas from Israel will need to be created as no major pipeline between Israel and Europe currently exists. Currently, the gas would need to be shipped to Egypt, where it could be liquified and shipped by sea to Europe.
Von der Leyen announced the EU’s intentions to cut back on Russian energy in May saying, “Some Member States are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it. We now propose a ban on Russian oil. This will be a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined.”
“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimises the impact on global markets. This is why we will phase out Russian supply of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year,” she said.
Rising energy costs have forced some EU member states to reconsider their climate change policies, including Germany, which announced last month it would be burning more coal to offset the costs of energy after Russia reduced the supply of gas being exported to the country.