Europe now faces a crippling energy crisis and the grim prospect of indirectly funding the war in Ukraine. A “deep decoupling” from Russia is needed to stop the war – this would cause short term economic pain for Europe and Western societies but would ensure long term security. Currently, the Kremlin needs $200 million a day to sustain the conflict, and Europe sends Russia about $900 million for energy supplies. Coordinated climate and energy measures aimed at building a renewable energy capacity and decarbonising the energy sector are needed, but the fight against corruption and money laundering must not be neglected as it is imperative in the context of reducing Russian influence, particularly in Eastern Europe.
These are some of the conclusions of the conference “Bridging the Gap between European Energy Security and Climate Transition Policy”, which took place in Brussels on the 29th of March. The event was organized by EURACTIV Bulgaria and European People’s Party. Participants included Borislav Sandov, Deputy Prime Minister for Climate Policy and Minister of Environment and Water, Michel Cornett, Energy and Climate Consultant at CLIMACT, Timon Venert, Senior Researcher at the Wuppertal Institute, Maria Pastukova, Climate Policy Advisor at E3G, Bas Eickhout, MEP (the Greens, GroenLinks), Alexander Vondra, MEP (ECR, Občanská demokratická strana, Radan Kanev, MEP (Democratic Bulgaria, EPP), Ruslan Stefanov, Programme Director at the CSD, and Martin Vladimirov, Director of the CSD's Energy and Climate Programme. The discussion was moderated by Georgi Gotev, founder and editor of EURACTIV Bulgaria.
Key recommendations were outlined such as how the European Emissions Trading Scheme can be redesigned and ways secure investments in the renewable energy sector not only for energy generation but also for energy efficiency, energy storage and smart grids. This would be a major step towards moving away from Russian energy supplies and would help to ensure that the EU does not become dependent on other countries. Coordination of efforts is necessary and a creation of an EU instrument intended to manage energy and climate security policies could be a solution.