Deal struck on EU plan to finance Russian fossil fuel exit

(EurActiv, 15 Dec 2022) The European Union reached an agreement early Wednesday morning (14 December) on a new law that makes energy projects eligible for financing under the EU’s €800 billion recovery fund, agreed two years ago in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan, called REPowerEU, “is going to enable us to finance the necessary investments” to diversify energy supplies and accelerate Europe’s exit from Russian oil and gas, said Zbyněk Stanjura, the Czech Finance Minister who represented the 27 EU member states in the negotiation.

The deal, which still needs to be formally endorsed by EU institutions, means EU member states “will be able to add a new REPowerEU chapter to their national recovery and resilience plans” submitted to Brussels in order to tap into the €800 billion fund, according to a statement from the EU Council.

The European Commission’s REPowerEU plan was presented on 18 May with the objective of eliminating all imports of Russian fossil fuels “well before 2030”. Meeting that objective will require a total investment of €300 billion by the end of the decade, the EU executive said at the time.

Europe is still overly reliant on Russia for its oil and gas, said Peter Liese, a German centre-right MEP who was part of the Parliament negotiating team. “We paid more than the Russian military budget since the war started. And we need to get rid of this,” he told journalists at a press conference on Wednesday.

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EurActiv, 15 Dec 2022: Deal struck on EU plan to finance Russian fossil fuel exit