Thank you very much, and good morning to everyone.

It's great to see this alliance taking off. We need hydrogen if we want to decarbonize our economy. Everything is now set in law. With the climate law being agreed between the European Parliament and the Council, we now have a legal obligation to be climate neutral by 2050 and to reduce our emissions with at least 55% as compared to 1990, which is 15 percent points more than the previous agreement. So we really need to step up our decarbonisation, which means for the energy sector that we need to electrify as much as we can. But we all know that we can’t electrify everything. And where we can’t electrify, hydrogen is a really good solution for the problems we have. I think Europe will be shifting in heavy transport to hydrogen. I think Europe will lead the way for the world in hydrogen. This alliance is crucial to attain that goal. You know my enthusiasm for the subject and you know Commissioner Bretons’ enthusiasm for the subject. You have two allies within the College of Commissioners on this. We both truly believe in hydrogen as a central component of Europe's industrial structure of the future. But we have to look at the instruments we need to get us where we want to be.

When I asked for a hydrogen strategy arriving at the Commission, some of the Commission services said ‘a what strategy?’ That's how quickly we moved in the last two years. Now you don't even have to mention hydrogen. We were told that we were over-ambitious, with our 40 gigawatts of green electrolyzer capacity by 2030. We could double that if the neighbourhood in the East and in the South would join the effort. But now, I look at what's happening in industry, if I look at what's also our Member States are doing individually and jointly, I think we're going to overshoot at that time already now. And it's only been a year. So I think this is a very interesting and promising development. But I think we also need four building blocks to make it succeed: innovation, massive investment in the hydrogen supply chain, an enabling policy framework and also international collaboration. As I said, we could double the amount of hydrogen, green hydrogen produced, if we work together with North Africa and the countries East of us.

So first of all, continued innovation efforts will be crucial, so that we can deploy the technologies that are needed. We are a front-runner, but others are catching up very quickly. We need to stay front-runner. We support this with the Innovation Fund, which is one of the world's largest funding programmes for the demonstration of innovative low carbon technologies.

At a carbon price of now forty euros – we’re above that, we’re even at fifty euros by now – but with forty euros, the fund already provides 20 billion of support over 10 years, so that can only go up.

In terms of innovative developments, we're also about the maritime sector. Green hydrogen will be essential in replacing fossil fuels for waterborne transport. Other zero carbon energy carriers such as ammonia could also play a huge role. The advantage of ammonia is that it leaves less volume, so you can fuel a ship longer on that.

Earlier this month, I opened the first ever multimodel hydrogen refuelling station in Antwerp. It was really exciting to see industry embracing this idea. Later this year, the world's first commercial cargo transport vessel operating on hydrogen will be deployed and will produce not less than one megawatts of power.

Ports all over Europe are uniting in a hydrogen ports network and are part of a global ports hydrogen coalition. Just imagine that you can refuel with hydrogen anywhere in the world. Hydrogen produced with solar power, wind power. This is really exciting. It will offer huge economic possibilities for countries around the world.

Second, besides innovation, there won't be progress without massive investment. The recovery plans that are coming up all over Europe offer enormous possibility. With a total budget of 750 billion euros, I think the European Recovery Resilience Facility offers a unique opportunity to also facilitate this energy transition. I say this also as a father and grandfather. If we don't invest this money well, we will put a burden on the shoulders of our children that is completely unbearable. Investing in the energy transition is one of the best things we could do. In the Recovery Facility, hydrogen has a special place with the two flagships power up and recharge and refuel. And I'm glad to see the many Member States have indeed included the hydrogen projects in their plans.

Our role is to create the right enabling framework in terms of policy. There, I think, our responsibility as politicians, as policymakers is huge. So when we're going to present our Fit for 55 proposals in July, this is very much a part of our thing. So we need a revised ETS, which will give a stronger price signal for investors to reward low carbon solutions like hydrogen. We need a Renewable Energy Directive that will include the establishment of a certification system so the consumer can buy green hydrogen with confidence. In the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, we will boost the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure for transport applications. This will supplement the proposal on the TEN-E regulation. I have so much more to say but let me to stop here because I'm taking too much time otherwise.

I just want to thank all of you, united in the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance. You are playing a key role. We need you to play this key role. This is only going to work if the private sector really engages or really invest. We're going to try and be as helpful as we can. Hydrogen is no longer a distant dream like it was a couple of years ago. It’s becoming a reality at an incredible pace, it rocks. But we're not there yet. We have some serious challenges, but we can meet those challenges if we work together with you. Good luck to all of you. And thank you very much for listening to me.