Green call for end to European funding of fossil fuel projects

As the European Council prepares to discuss the planned “toolbox” for EU governments to tackle the current energy price hike a group of European MPs have called for public investment to be switched from fossil fuels to green energy projects.

Members of the Green Party and the European Free Alliance (EFA) said there needed to be an urgent investigation into how the shortage occurred and who if anyone had sought to profit from the supply issues.

The European Commission has proposed a toolbox to deal with any future issues and the European Council will debate the proposals tomorrow and Friday.

Ville Niinistö MEP, Greens/EFA member of the Industry, Research and Energy committee, said the group wanted to see action taken.

“It is clear that the price hike is not caused by our climate policy and renewable energy but fossil fuel price hikes,” he said. “We welcome the Commission’s decision to investigate, as a matter of priority, any possible anti-competitive behaviour in the energy market. We need to know if Russia is playing poker with us to get gas flowing in Nord Stream 2. We must use a dual approach in order to quickly alleviate energy poverty and scale up renewable energy in order to make ourselves truly independent of Russia’s political poker.

“In the short term, we need direct aid for low-income households and microenterprises instead of broad tax cuts. Member States’ ETS revenues can be used, as they are 10.8 billion Euro higher in the first three quarters of this year compared to the last. At the same time, we need to work on long-term goals and measures and increasing our efforts in energy renovation and making our energy system renewable. By 2040, we must switch to 100% renewable energies in the EU, which is good for citizens’ wallets and relieves the burden on industry.”

He was supported by Bas Eickhout MEP, vice chair of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee.

“The energy price crisis is a consequence of dependence on fossil fuels,” he explained. “Only with 100 percent renewable energies and sensible energy use can we prevent massive price jumps and existential emergencies. The principle of energy efficiency first must be implemented, because the cheapest and most environmentally friendly energy is the energy we don’t use.

“In the short term, we need direct aid for low-income households and microenterprises that are particularly affected. All citizens have a right to a warm, bright home. However, tax cuts for all consumers and interventions in the price setting mechanisms of the market are counterproductive. The latter indirectly constitute a subsidy for fossil fuels and weaken both the market conditions for renewable energies and the economic viability of renewable energies.

“In order to achieve the climate targets and provide all Europeans with clean energy, the billions in subsidies for fossil infrastructure such as gas pipelines must be ended and the money channelled into energy-efficient building modernisation and the expansion of solar and wind energy as well as storage infrastructure.”

The European Commission has proposed a toolbox to deal with any future issues and the European Council will debate the proposals tomorrow and Friday.

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