Wrapping up the parliamentary term: An exchange with Executive Vice-President Šefčovič on EU’s climate and energy policy

Dinner debate in Strasbourg

Chaired by Jerzy Buzek MEP, President of the EEF

Speaker: Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight

Jerzy Buzek MEP, EEF President opened this discussion by considering the initiatives and results of the last parliamentary term, mostly driven by the European Green Deal. He stressed that it is now important to focus on the implementation phase and to ensure that the needs of EU economy are duly taken into account. Mr Buzek also emphasised the relevance of having clear energy and climate plans for the upcoming legislature.

Maroš ŠefčovičExecutive Vice-President European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight highlighted that the past few years have represented a big challenge for the EU, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy crisis and the geopolitical turbulences at international level. It was however possible to design and implement swift responses, thanks to an effective collaboration among all EU institutions. The combination of emergency and structural measures was successful in helping to sustain our economy.

EVP Šefčovič explained that EU’s decarbonization remains a priority and that the 2040 climate target represents a necessary commitment to be able to reach climate neutrality by 2050. This goal should be combined with increasing attention to the competitiveness of EU industry. For this reason, it is now key to focus on the implementation phase of the policies that have been adopted during the past legislature, by strengthening their industrial and social dimensions.

Looking at the future, VP Šefčovič clarified some of the European Commission’s priorities for the next legislative term reflecting its commitment to build a more resilient, competitive and sustainable EU. First of all, he focused on a swift implementation of the agreed EU legislative framework while minimising administrative burdens. Secondly, it will be crucial to strengthen EU’s energy autonomy, reducing energy prices for consumers and ensuring that energy-intensive industries can remain competitive. Thirdly, developing EU’s energy infrastructure to accelerate the electrification of the economy. As a fourth point, there is a need to focus on domestic value chains in sectors that are crucial for the transition to a decarbonised economy, including the manufacturing of wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, heat pumps, cables, electrolysers, etc in order to strengthen EU’s competitiveness at the global level. Finally, he underlined the importance of creating a EU single market of clean technologies, to increase investments in domestic industries able to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The Executive Vice-President’s keynote speech was followed by a dynamic Q&A session on a wide range of topics including the issue of water resilience, the role of copper in the green transition and the enhancement of the plastic recycling process. Among other aspects, the debate also touched upon the digitalisation of energy infrastructure, global competitiveness, the role of hydrogen, and the need to improve and strengthen EU’s energy infrastructure.