EESC discusses priorities for the incoming Czech presidency of the European Union and the right energy mix for Europe’s future

At the meeting of the Bureau of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Prague, Mikuláš Bek, the Czech Minister for European Affairs, presented the priorities of the future Czech Presidency of the European Union. He also attended a seminar on “Sustainable and Affordable Energy for the EU” with EESC members.

The European Union needs a secure energy supply. This was the message from Mikulas Bekothe Czech Minister for European Affairs, who addressed the members of the EESC at the Bureau meeting on 28 April 2022 in Prague.

Regarding the development of the crisis in Ukraine, he said that: guaranteeing access to affordable, sustainable but also reliable energy sources will be one of the biggest challenges the EU has ever faced

Mr Beki announced the five likely political priorities of the future Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, stressing that the focus will be on the environmental and digital transition, but also, given recent events, on security.

The next Czech EU presidency will focus on the war in Ukraine

Under the motto “Europe, a duty”, inspired by a speech by Václav Havel, writer and Czech head of state, in Aachen, the Czech EU Presidency will focus on:

1) managing the refugee crisis and reconstruction of Ukraine, taking an approach that combines economic aid and structural reforms in this country, while supporting a standard EU application process;

2) energy security in Europe, by working to set up a mechanism that guarantees a fair distribution of energy resources between EU Member States and by increasing investment in renewable energy sources;

3) strengthening European defense capabilities and cyberspace security, with EU and NATO complementing each other;

4) the strategic resilience of the European economy, strengthening innovation and competitiveness and reducing dependence on hostile regimes and

5) the resilience of democratic institutions, with a focus on media freedom, transparency in the financing of political parties in the Union and the rule of law.

During the debate, EESC members urged the minister to increase support from the European Union and national governments to civil society organisations. Civil society organizations are on the front lines of the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and need concrete emergency assistance.

European solidarity was another common thread in the debate. It will only be possible to end energy imports from Russia if all the Member States of the Union come together and share the available energy resources.

Several speakers also warned against neglecting social aspects during the Czech presidency of the Council in the second half of 2022. Rising energy and food prices are increasing poverty and threatening social cohesion.

EESC members also called for initiatives to support innovation, which is essential for business development and strengthening the economy, and emphasized in particular the need to invest in renewable energy.

The right mix of sustainable and affordable energy for the future of the EU

During the afternoon seminar on the theme “Optimal energy mix for sustainable and affordable energy”, leading speakers assessed the potential of different energy sources to achieve the EU’s climate goals by 2050.

Christa Schwen, President of the EESC, emphasized that it is essential to reduce the EU’s energy dependence on third countries. The way forward is to diversify energy sources and increase investment in renewable energy.

As a result of the war in Ukraine, the advocacy for a rapid transition to clean energy, which will reduce the Union’s energy dependency on third parties and diversify our energy resources through greater use of local and renewable energy sources, has never been louder or clearer .she said.

The key to success will be decentralized access to energy, better interconnection, targeted local measures and financial incentives and reduction of administrative burdens. To ensure a successful transition, civil society organizations must play a key role in policy setting and implementationshe added.

René Nedelathe Czech Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, emphasized that the pillar of energy security must be accompanied by the pillar of environmental sustainability and affordability.

The main message of Vladimir Spidlaformer Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, focusing on solidarity between EU Member States regarding access to energy resources.

For his part, Petr Zahradnikof the Czech Ministry of European Affairs, emphasized the important role that energy communities can play at the local level in the future.

Leave a Comment