EU seeks to phase out Russian energy in 7 years
EU talks about a REPowerEU initiative to phase out Russian energy, which will take up to 7 years and will cost hundreds of billions of euros despite growing inflation rates across the continent.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented on Wednesday the REPowerEU initiative. The plan seeks to phase out Russian energy resources, diversify gas supplies, and speed up the roll-out of renewable gases.
"We are vulnerable on relying on Russia for importing our fossil fuels, we must now reduce as rapidly as possible our reliance on Russia in energy. Today, we present our plan to realize these objectives, with the plan that is called REPowerEU. We can replace Russian fossil fuels by working on three levels: on the demand side, saving energy, on the supply side, diversifying our energy imports away from fossil fuels and accelerating the clean energy transition," Von der Leyen told a press conference.
According to the EU commission, the bloc has reached a reduction of 26% last month compared to 40% in April 2021 in the total consumption of Russian gas. This is not the first time the EU discusses reduction plans.
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Last week, the EU announced the failure to agree on a sixth package of sanctions against Russia. Von der Leyen has been "unsuccessful" in persuading Hungary to join the EU embargo on Russian oil in their latest sanctions.
The chief had traveled to Budapest to convince Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to agree on the EU sanctions against Russia.
According to Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, Von der Leyen could not convince Budapest that it could safely join sanctions without putting the country's energy security at risk. The Foreign Minister stressed that Hungary will insist on exempting pipeline oil imports from the sanctions.
Russian President Putin had already warned against sanctions stating that Europe would be committing "economic suicide" with its sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine. He told an energy meeting that Europe would see higher energy prices and higher inflation as a result of its actions, saying, "Of course, such an economic suicide is a domestic affair of the European countries."
While in search of alternatives given the growing inflation happening across Europe, Von der Leyen has stated that "energy savings are the quickest and the cheapest way to address the current energy crisis. We will therefore increase the EU energy efficiency target for 2030 from 9% to 13%. Then, there is the massive investment in renewable energy, the biggest task. Here, we are increasing our target for 2030 from 40% renewable energy to 45% renewable energy”.
The REPowerEU initiative will cost the EU massive investments and reforms, as well as up to 300 billion euros ($315.4 billion) being allocated for energy reforms. The division of the fiscal allocation will be as follows: 75 billion euros will be in grants and approximately 225 billion in loans.