On the initiative of the Croatian Presidency and in order to provide immediate and effective support in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, a videoconference of EU Ministers responsible for energy was held on Tuesday 28 April 2020. Minister of Environment and Energy Tomislav Ćorić chaired the meeting, with the participation of the European Commissioner responsible for energy Kadri Simson.
The main objectives of today’s videoconference were to assess the measures already taken to reinforce preparedness and ensure security of supply and to identify the possible contribution of the energy sector to a rapid response to the crisis in the short and mid term recovery effort.
Ministers exchanged their views on measures already taken to secure the energy supply during the COVID-19 pandemic and on possibilities for the energy sector to help in the recovery after the crisis. In response to the operational challenges associated with COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to limit its outbreak, the industry has implemented exceptional business arrangements to ensure the 24/7 continuity of essential energy operations, whilst protecting the health and safety of staff.
Ministers acknowledged that the European energy system is resilient and that currently there is no risk of disruption in energy supply systems, especially for those most in need. They stressed the importance of the tools for ensuring the stability of the security of supply. Furthermore, ministers also highlighted that the resilience of the energy system is the result of a well-functioning internal energy market and robust preparedness measures, including close cooperation of the Member States.
At the current phase, when the pandemic is reaching its peak, consideration should be given to economic recovery in the next stage. During discussion ministers emphasised that the European Green Deal, together with the national energy and climate plans, can play an important role in bringing sustainable recovery to the EU economy.
“This is the right time to reflect on how the energy sector can uplift the immense efforts which are needed to revive our economies. The clean energy transition towards the green growth and climate neutrality can represent a major opportunity to stimulate the recovery of the Member States' economies.”
Tomislav Ćorić, Minister of Environment and Energy of the Republic of Croatia
Ministers also reflected on how the initiatives such as the Renovation Wave, different renewable energy projects, frontloaded infrastructure investment and Just Transition Mechanism can contribute to the fast and efficient recovery as well as which activities or measures could be rapidly implemented at the EU level.
The Commission considers that the recovery plan should focus on strengthening the internal market and strengthening the resilience. It is necessary not to waste resources. The revised work program of the will focus on the promotion of renewable energy-based technologies, the energy renovation of buildings and the promotion of innovative technologies.
“We had an extremely relevant and very timely discussion today on the crisis and the energy sector. I’m proud to say that it has proven its resilience and, as the ministers confirmed, there has been no disruption of supply. It must be a priority for all of us to respond to this and preserve Europe’s global leadership in clean technologies.”
Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy
Finallly, Commissioner Simson gave ministers a short update on national energy and climate plans and long-term renovation strategies.