Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome.

We are standing on the edge of a huge transition for the energy system in Europe. And we know that in the future, that system will look very different from today.

By 2030, we will already begin to see a visible change in the mix of transport fuels. By 2030, electric vehicles will be better developed and deployed for use in transport.

By 2050 transport fuels will be a mix of electricity, hydrogen, biofuels, biomethane and e-fuels.

Overall, by 2050, we could be consuming over half of the energy in the form of electricity. And as we approach the middle of the century, gases and liquid fuels that make up the other half will be increasingly decarbonised.

By 2050, technologies like renewable hydrogen that now seem a distant dream will be an everyday reality.

2050 won’t be unrecognisable, but it will be very different to today.

The good news is that our analysis shows this change is doable.

As a carbon intensive industry, you will have a key role to play in this transition.

We have thirty years – a generation – to prepare. Not just to prepare, but to make the most of this evolution. Not just for industries to survive, but to thrive.

We are working on exactly what we said we would to make that a reality and not just a promise. Our efforts fall into two main areas: the regulatory side and the investment side.

Each equally important.

Each reinforcing the other.

***

On the regulatory side, first a word on what we have done to date. Over the past year we have launched a number of initiatives. Together, they build a foundation for the climate neutral Europe we are working towards. We have tabled a Climate Law, prepared a Climate Target Plan to speed up our efforts for 2030.

In energy, we presented our strategies on hydrogen and energy system integration.

The next big step will be the Fit for 55 package coming in June.

New greenhouse gas reduction targets mean we need legislation to match. So in June we will bring forward a set of proposals aligning our legislation with our new climate ambitions. I want to mention a few that are especially important for those of you here today:

  • A revision of the ETS directive, and its possible extension to the transport and building sectors.
  • That will stand side by side with a revision of the Effort Sharing Regulation;
  • We will bring forward a regulation setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles
  • We will revise the directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure necessary to enable the switch to low-carbon energy sources in transport;
  • And the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive. This will include a comprehensive certification for renewable and low-carbon fuels and gases. And it will come with an updated set of incentives to promote the use of these fuels in various sectors;
  • June will also see the revision of both the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Taxation Directive. Energy taxation needs to be aligned with the objectives of the Green Deal as it directly affects consumers’ choices. Therefore this revision will be relevant for various fuels.
  • I also want to mention the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. This will be for selected sectors in order to reduce the risk of carbon leakage in the future.

Aside from the Fit for 55 package, we are also in the process of updating our Industrial Strategy, aiming to publish in March.

We want to radically accelerate the green transition in industry and through industry. As I said, we want European industry to thrive with the Green Deal, to develop and roll out the clean energy technologies for the future. To this end we want to come out resilient and competitive incorporating all players in the value chain.

Combined, what all of these initiatives represent are a regulatory overhaul in the EU to pave the way for the Green Deal and our green future.

***

But, as always, the regulation is only one side of the coin. Investment is the other. And the challenge is even bigger on this side.

To reach our goals, annual investments for energy production and use will need to increase by around 350 billion euro per year compared with what we invested in the decade leading up to 2020. And it will mainly be focused in buildings and transport, but also in the power sector.

To fight the  economic uncertainty the pandemic entails, last year the Commission announced an historic recovery package, standing shoulder to shoulder with a reinforced EU budget for the next seven years.

Together, they bring the financial firepower of the EU to 1,8 trillion euro the biggest EU budget in history.

In that context, 37% of the Recovery and Resilience Facility is earmarked for climate-driven investment. That makes it the single most important EU instrument for the green energy transition. This is a unique opportunity to build back better and to invest in our future.

The opportunities for the refining industries are there for the taking. The priorities for the recovery instrument include frontloading clean technologies and renewables. And it will also help lay the foundation for hydrogen markets in Europe. That includes the related infrastructure to install the electrolyser capacity we need.

For transport, the transition will also be supported by the Recharge and Refuel flagship.

Investment on the scale we are talking about needs both direction and momentum.

The Commission gives that direction through these funding instruments. But the private sector can and must use the momentum with its own investment to match.   

***

Ladies and gentlemen,

All of these initiatives - the regulatory, and the investment - translate to one thing: confidence in our vision for the future.

I’ve seen that confidence coming from your sector too - especially in your Clean Fuels for All initiative. It’s tools like these that shed the light on the steps we need to take. 

Combined, we are moving forward with a framework to help navigate the evolution to come.

Today’s forum is an excellent opportunity to hear more of the initiatives on your side. And how to realise the challenges and seize the opportunities for the refining sector as we move closer to 2050.

Thank you.