Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted last week that natural gas prices in the EU have dropped below pre-war level.
Speaking in Sweden at a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, she pointed out that Dutch futures are down more than 80% compared to the August peak, the EC noted in a statement on Friday.
Von der Leyen stressed that the Commission has to “continue our work to make energy more affordable for Europeans” and added that the body will propose changes to the electricity market in the spring.
She expressed hope that the bloc will make “swift progress under the Swedish presidency” and stressed the importance of investing more in the energy transition.
“We should aim to also double this year, once more, the additional capacity of renewable energy that is added to the market… because we all know home-grown renewables are indispensable for our energy independence,” von der Leyen added.
She reminded that the bloc last year “agreed on half of the proposals that are needed to reduce our CO2 emissions by at least 55% by 2030″ and added, “I am confident that the Swedish presidency can lead us through this last stretch.”
Competition in green tech
Von der Leyen pointed out that the EU “is a pioneer and frontrunner in clean tech,” but warned that competition is increasing.
“Unless a level playing field is preserved, it could have a negative effect on our competitiveness and investments in Europe,” she noted and added that the EC wants a “global level playing field.”
Von der Leyen warned that the bloc is facing “unfair competition in the clean tech sector” from China, stressing that Beijing is providing “massive and hidden subsidies in the production of wind turbines, for example, or solar panels.”
She announced plans to work with the Swedish presidency to reassure EU companies about the bloc’s determination to enhancing the economic attractiveness of the EU.
Von der Leyen welcomed the recent finding of a large rare-earth elements deposit in Sweden, announcing new rules aimed at reducing the EU’s dependence on the import of raw materials.
She noted that new rules will include relaxation of requirements for green energy projects, stressing that bureaucratic obstacles are holding back the green push.