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EU Commission proposes plan worth €300bn to end Russian fuel imports

The European Union will have to invest up to €300 billion ($316 billion) by 2030 to become independent of Russian energy imports, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

Brussels, 18 May 2022 (dpa/MIA) – The European Union will have to invest up to €300 billion ($316 billion) by 2030 to become independent of Russian energy imports, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

“We must now reduce as soon as possible our dependency on Russian fossil fuels,” von der Leyen said in a speech in Brussels, presenting the EU’s strategy to break away from Russian energy imports by the end of the decade.

The plan will help save energy, diversify energy imports and accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels, von der Leyen said.

Under the initiative, termed REPowerEU, 45% of the EU’s energy is to come from renewable sources by 2030, instead of 40% as previously planned. Energy consumption should decrease by at least 13% instead of 9%.

To achieve this, the commission wants, among other things, to shorten approval procedures for renewable energy projects, make solar panels on certain roofs mandatory, and import more climate-friendly hydrogen.

In the short term, the commission expects an increase in conventional energy production like coal and nuclear, to compensate for Russian fuel, before transitioning more quickly than initially planned to clean energy.

EU countries pay around €100 billion per year for Russian fuel, according to the commission.

Depriving the Kremlin of this revenue source has become a political priority for the commission, reflected in a previously proposed embargo on Russian oil currently blocked by landlocked central European countries, including Hungary.

The commission proposed to invest up to €2 billion in oil infrastructure to help countries highly dependent on Russian fuels procure oil from elsewhere.

The money could be used to build new supply channels and to adapt existing refineries and other infrastructure for oil other than Russian products.

The total amount of up to €300 billion until 2030 comes in addition to initiatives that are part of the EU’s “Fit for 55” climate package, according to the commission.

According to the commission’s proposal, the necessary amount could be taken from unused resources of the EU’s Covid-19 relief fund, in addition to deviating money from other existing funds.

Funds could also be generated by the auctioning of additional allowances from the EU’s emissions trading scheme.

The new proposals will be presented to member states and the European Parliament as amendments to existing EU regulations.

The 27 EU member states and the European Parliament need to agree on the proposals before any new legislation is implemented.

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