Brussels (BrusselsMorning) Following the unprecedented military aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation on 24th of February, the European Union reacted in a united manner to condemn Russia’s illegal military actions. The Greens/EFA strongly condemn the Russian attack, standing firmly by Ukraine and we welcome the restrictive measures adopted by the Commission and Member States, although tougher sanctions may be needed. We also applaud a coordinated response to support Ukraine, especially in terms of humanitarian assistance as well as providing EU corridors and offering shelter to all people fleeing the country. Now more than ever it is time for a new EU energy strategy that bets on a sustainable, safe and socially fair future. Greens/EFA have already called for a truly European Energy Union to move away from national decision-making on energy mix and energy infrastructures.
That’s why we have written to President Von der Leyen to take urgent measures to free us from dependence on fossil fuels and create a new energy model that nurtures peace, democracy and human rights and combats the climate crisis. The tragic events of these hours, following Russia’s unacceptable attack on Ukraine, reaffirm the urgency of ending dependence on energy imports from Russia, which today still supplies about 40% of gas to the EU, which means that our money also finances Putin’s military operations. But it is necessary that the autonomy from Russian fossil sources does not turn into a new dependence on fossil sources from other states. It would be a short-sighted and senseless choice.
The current increase in energy prices and the geopolitical situation highlight that investments in fossil gas expose a situation of extreme vulnerability, also in the form of increased energy bills for European citizens. It is time for a new EU energy strategy that bets on a sustainable, secure and socially just future.
We therefore call for an emergency strategy to invest now in a highly energy efficient economy based 100% on renewable sources. It is time for real political will and bold action. With our appeal we call for a European Energy Independence Act:
1) to dedicate at least 1% of member states’ GDP to energy efficiency and renewables
2) to support less energy-intensive behavioural practice
3) an ambitious plan to invest in energy efficiency with building renovation,
4) to increase of the energy efficiency target in the new directive to at least 45%,
5) an alternative to the current list of common projects, many of which are still gas-related
6) exclusion of the EU taxonomy of nuclear and gas from the delegated act.
Furthermore, it is very important to create an energy community per municipality by 2023.
We are living in an unprecedented time and we need unprecedented responses to adapt our economy and policies to a time of war. There is no time for institutional resistance and this should be reflected in the organization of the European Commission itself, for example with the creation of task forces dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable energy. The European Union should be consistent and cannot invest in fossil fuels by providing only a small amount of support for energy efficiency and renewable. It is the responsibility of the European Commission to ensure that the measures taken today are not only about the short term, but are able to provide European citizens with a sustainable future in a decarbonized world. It is time for the European Union to devote political will and funding to the concrete achievement of the objectives of the Green Deal.
Finally, as Europa Verde we have launched the gas strike initiative: in order not to finance Putin’s war, in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, we ask to reduce the heating in our homes by 2-3°C. We must not forget that every day Russia collects 700 million dollars from the sale of its gas and, with that money, Putin finances the war against Ukraine.