Brussels (Brussels Morning) European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has declared that the EU will have to invest roughly 360 billion euro annually in the energy transition.
Speaking at the Wold Economic Forum videoconference on Thursday, she acknowledged that it “is a staggering figure, yet it is entirely within our reach, but the private sector must come on board and governments have to create the conditions for this to happen.”
Von der Leyen noted that the EC has been creating such conditions “brick by brick” and stressed that “we now have the first ever European Climate Law, ensuring that our climate targets are not just an ambition, but a legal obligation.”
She pointed to the EU’s detailed legal framework that will ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are cut at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
On the issue of semiconductors, von der Leyen observed that the demand for microchips is “skyrocketing” and that the “European need for chips will double in the next decade.” Therefore, it was vital, she said, to focus on “development, production and use of this key technology.” Most of Europe’s supplies come from a small number of foreign producers, making for “a dependency and uncertainty we simply cannot afford.”
She believed Europe should account for 20% of the global chip production by 2030 but doing so would require the bloc’s current production levels to quadruple, so there is no time to lose.
Turning to rising natural gas prices, she pointed out that the EC had prepared measures to cushion the blow on businesses and households.”Today’s gas crisis must serve to accelerate the transition to clean energy”, she stated in pledging that the EC would “focus on protecting those most affected.”
As for the situation in Ukraine, she stressed that the EU favours dialogue, but warned that “if the situation deteriorates, if there are any further attacks on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, we will respond with massive economic and financial sanctions.”
Von der Leyen concluded with the observation that autocrats fear liberal ideas and values, including “our economic success, our civil liberties, and the freedom of speech and ideas.”