Facing Europe’s greatest energy challenge

(EurActiv, 25 Mar 2022) If anything good can come out of the Ukraine crisis, an ‘energy compact’ between governments and citizens committing to really accelerate investment in greening our economy is one, write Christopher Jones and Klaus-Dieter Borchardt.

Christopher Jones and Klaus-Dieter Borchardt are former deputy director-generals at the European Commission’s energy department. They now both work at Baker McKenzie, a multinational law firm.

Europe’s energy markets are facing unprecedented challenges. Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, gas prices were increasing quickly, due to high global demand. The Russian invasion doubled them again.

The EU’s energy policy has always focussed on three goals – sustainability, security, and competitiveness (or affordability), although the focus was not always equal on all three objectives at the same time. In these most challenging of circumstances, it is now essential that the three objectives are pursued all together which requires a renewal of the EU’s energy policy.

The Versailles European Summit agreed that we now have to end our dependency on Russian gas and oil. The most difficult will be gas, which makes up 45% of our imports and 40% (IEA figures) of total gas consumption.

At the same time, we need to deal with the fact that EU citizens and businesses are facing historically high energy prices, closing production and jobs in energy-intensive industries, stoking inflation, and accelerating energy poverty.

And most importantly, when tackling this, we need to build on the Green Deal and continue to lay strong foundations for our climate-neutral energy system by 2050.

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EurActiv, 25 Mar 2022: Facing Europe’s greatest energy challenge