Ladies and Gentlemen,
Exactly one month ago, the European Commission presented the European Green Deal, our vision for climate-neutral Europe by 2050.
The current geopolitical situation is a powerful reminder of the risks of being dependent on fossil fuels, especially if these come from regions where peace and stability are fragile.
So on one hand, the European Green Deal is of course a climate and environmental strategy – a comprehensive plan to protect our planet from climate change and pollution. On the other hand, it is a growth strategy for modern times. Competitiveness in the future will be inseparable from being green, because green means also innovative, smart and effective.
But in addition to this, the Green Deal has – fittingly for today’s topic - a strong geopolitical dimension.
We do not know exactly what the new global energy system will look like, but I believe it will remain highly interdependent. The European Green Deal is also a way for Europe to increase its energy sovereignty. Increasing our energy efficiency, the share of renewable energy and people’s role in the energy production will make us less dependent on others. Our supply will be more local, the sources more diverse and the systems more flexible.
Yet, we will need to work with our neighbours and with partners more than ever. For many years, there will still be several sources of energy in the EU energy mix. And above all, clean energy transition is a global challenge which requires global solutions. As always, we believe that multilateralism and cooperation are the best way to address such a global challenge.
Our commitment to the Paris Agreement is at the centre of the European Green Deal. The EU has been an architect of the Agreement and we are committed to continue lead the way for its implementation. But the EU is responsible for only 9% of global emissions. If we act alone, it will be in vain.
We will make every effort to support others in achieving ambitious climate goals. The EU and its Member States are already the world's leading donors of development assistance and provide over 40% of the world's public climate finance. We will continue to use diplomatic and financial tools to support the transition.
Last but definitely not least, we strongly believe that the energy transition will only work if it’s just and fair – not only in Europe, but everywhere. This is not just a social or humanitarian concern, but a geopolitical imperative.
Access to renewable energy will have benefits for health, education, gender or deforestation. By creating new economic opportunities and reducing pressures on natural resources, we also address root causes of migration and conflicts.
Under the EU Neighbourhood Policy and in our bilateral dialogues with the countries of the Mediterranean region and our Eastern neighbours, we are promoting the adoption of energy efficiency and renewables as a way to create new, diversified economic models.
This is a sure way to create local jobs, create socio-economic stability and improve living conditions, and make it easier to reduce fossil fuel subsidies, which are often used as an instrument for social peace in those countries.
Within the EU, we acknowledge that certain regions face more change than others and we want to make sure that the development of renewable energy comes with the reskilling of workers, so that no region is left behind. This is why we launched in the past years initiatives for Coal Regions in transition, Clean Energy on Islands and Energy Poverty Observatory aimed at addressing these challenges.
Next week, we will propose the Just Transition Mechanism that will support the most vulnerable regions with €100 billion.
I believe that the clean energy transition is not a question of IF, but WHEN. It is already underway, but it’s up to us to make sure it will be fast enough for our planet and just enough for our people.