EU-US Energy Council: opening remarks by High Representative Borrell and Commissioner Simson

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


“Check against delivery”

High Representative Borrell:

Good morning, Secretary [of State, Anthony] Blinken.

I am very happy to welcome [you] to this 10th edition of the EU-US Energy Council [Ministerial Meeting].

We met last [on] 7 February last year, and 17 days after Russia launched its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. And a lot has happened since then.

Russia’s war has had a dramatic impact on energy and food supplies globally. It has exposed our vulnerabilities, but also it has accelerated our green energy transition.

And we have worked hand in hand, not only to ensure Europe’s energy security, but also to stabilise the global energy markets.

Secretary Blinken, I would like to thank you personally very much and the US Administration for your support, mainly the unprecedented levels of deliveries of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

In addition, through our Global Methane Pledge, we could free up to 250 billion cubic meters of gas – almost double the amount that Russia used to ship to Europe.

My colleague, [Commissioner for Energy] Kadri Simson, will speak further on the far-reaching European Union actions over the last 12 months to ensure the energy security of the European Union and our neighbours, for now, and more importantly, for the next winter.

And there is a broad lesson in all of this: in the end, reliable, affordable and secure energy, will only come through a fully decarbonised energy system largely based on renewables.

And one of our lines of work is therefore to phase out global demand for fossil fuels, and to use the energy more efficiently. More savings and more efficiency. 

Together, Secretary [of State] Blinken, we will work towards making energy efficiency a global priority, as we have done with methane emissions in 2021.

Turning to those most affected by Russia’s war: last June, the European Union extended candidate status to Ukraine, as you know, and to the Republic of Moldova.

Looking ahead, we want to support Ukraine in rebuilding green energy systems.

Green energy transition and energy security for our direct neighbours – Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkans – are key issues for us.

And that is why, I am very much looking forward to our exchanges this morning on how we can further work on these objectives together, as we have been doing during the last year since we met in Washington.

Once again, [you are] very much welcome.

*****

Commissioner Simson:

Dear Secretary Blinken,

Dear Deputy Secretary Turk,

Dear Minister Billström

Dear Josep,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to welcome you all in Brussels.

Last year, we concluded the Council in Washington with a united vision of cooperation. We rejected Russian threats to Ukraine and its manipulation of the energy system.

Russia’s aggression triggered global disruptions and an unprecedented shift in the EU energy system. However, the disengagement from Russian supplies has worked faster than we expected.

The EU reduced its gas consumption by 19%, responsible for saving 42 bcm of natural gas and, on top of that, new renewables replaced over 11 bcm. The EU also secured 90 bcm of gas from alternative sources.

If we made it, it is thanks to a strong EU-US partnership. Imports of US LNG more than doubled last year.

I believe this is not a temporary situation, but marks a structural change in Europe’s energy outlook and trade orientation.

While gas cooperation has been so crucial, I am particularly happy that the EU US transatlantic cooperation goes beyond it.

The EU and the US have worked together on promoting innovation, just transition and methane emission reduction. We strengthened business ties in renewables. Yesterday, I exchanged with stakeholders in the EU and the US on how to bring this cooperation to the next level. 

Going forward, there is a lot more we can do together.

I consider that one of this year’s priority is working jointly on energy security for Ukraine and Europe’s neighbourhood.

Finally, a word on nuclear safety in Ukraine. We are constantly on a verge of a catastrophic radiological incident. It is crucial to increase pressure on Russia to demilitarise the Zaporizhzhia plant and not take any reckless action.

The EU-US Energy Council is an effective tool to advance our energy cooperation so I look forward to our discussions today.

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