PES Presidency: it’s time for the EU to secure affordable energy that is accessible to all citizens and sustainable for the planet

28/04/2022

PES Presidency meeting by videoconference

PES Presidency meeting by videoconference

The European Union must act now, or face rising energy poverty and environmental destruction. This is the warning from high-level representatives of PES member parties and organisations who met today to discuss EU energy policy.

Members of the Presidency – the highest decision-making body of the Party of European Socialists –adopted a declaration setting out the common progressive position on accelerating Europe’s transition away from fossil fuels: Addressing the energy crisis and accelerating the clean energy transition for all.

For socialists and democrats, a fair and green energy transition is a longstanding priority – Europe’s decarbonisation path is set out in the European Green Deal from European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans. Today, energy market volatility caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as Russia’s decision to actively cut gas supplies, make the implementation of the European Green Deal even more urgent.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“The clean energy transition will ultimately bring many benefits for citizens, the health of the planet, and Europe’s strategic autonomy. Now is the time to accelerate it.

“If we do not act now and act forcefully, energy poverty will skyrocket this year. Fossil fuel prices are too high. The best insulation against that for citizens, especially the most vulnerable, is green energy. In the immediate term, we want member states to come forward with targeted measures to alleviate the poverty caused by fossil fuel volatility. ETS revenues and windfall taxes can play a role.

“It is also important to implement the ideas on the table to strengthen our Energy Union. We need to adopt the Fit for 55 package and make use of Next GenEU funding to innovate our energy network. There is huge potential in the Iberian Peninsula and Western Balkans for interconnections facilities.

“We support the objectives of REPowerEU. Frans Timmermans is right to focus on reducing Europe’s reliance on Russian energy. We support his proposals to deploy renewables faster, improve interconnections, and diversify gas supplies to secure EU energy independence.”

Action on the energy crisis is a key priority for progressives. Social democratic governments and parties across the EU - united in the PES - are already pushing to: ensure everyone has access to energy at a price they can afford; ensure a quick transition towards clean energy; and, achieve strategic energy autonomy for our Union.

The PES Presidency reiterated its condemnation for the Russian invasion. The PES supports sanctions introduced by the EU in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

At the meeting, PES President Stanishev reported on the PES delegation to the Poland-Ukraine border last week.

The PES Presidency discussed the Rule of Law in Slovakia and the attempted preventive detention of opposition leader Robert Fico (Smer-SD). The PES stands strongly in support of the Rule of Law in the EU. The Presidency gave a mandate to PES President Stanishev to closely follow the situation in Slovakia.

The meeting also discussed the conclusion of the progressive caucus of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and the upcoming PES Congress.