The European Parliament today held a plenary debate to prepare for the European Council meeting on 24 and 25 March, when heads of states and government will discuss EU’s response to the war against Ukraine, with actions including the humanitarian situation and refugees, reinforcing EU’s security and defence, and addressing the impact of the war on the energy supply.
The leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García MEP, said:
“We face three colossal challenges: free ourselves from energy dependency on Russia, speed up the energy transition as much as possible, and manage the price crisis.
“The sanctions we have already adopted were up to the moment, but we must do more: cut off Russia’s access to cryptocurrency exchanges, go after the banks, law firms and tax havens that protect sanctioned oligarchs, expand the isolation of Russian banks and energy giants, and reduce our dependency on gas, oil and coal.
“We must diversify the sources of gas origin and increase interconnections. The creation of strategic reserves and joint purchases would also increase our energy resilience. And, if we really want to make our strategic autonomy a reality, we must accelerate the rate of installation of renewables by simplifying administrative procedures and activating energy saving and efficiency measures.
“It is also essential to reform the marginalist electricity market in the EU. It is time to decouple the price of electricity from the price of gas. The Commission cannot continue to look the other way when it knows that the price of gas causes uncontrolled price increases despite accounting for a very small fraction of total electricity generation.
“Putin’s cowardly attack also makes it inevitable that we increase our defence spending. But it’s not just about spending more, but about spending better. The Strategic Compass designed by High Representative Josep Borrell gives us the opportunity to use our capabilities in an efficient and coordinated manner in the European Union and in full complementarity with NATO.
“Lastly, the mobilisation and gestures of solidarity with the refugees must not only be maintained while the war lasts, but must lead us to a new migration and asylum pact that can no longer wait.”