The rising energy prices are a real concern for consumers and businesses that need to be supported, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said following the meeting of the European Council on 21 and 22 October. Aside from the short-term measures already taken by many Member States, she explained a multitude of other mid- and long-term measures the EU was working on.
“To increase resilience and independence, we have agreed to explore how to establish a strategic gas reserve, and to explore the possibilities of a joint procurement,” she explained. “We will intensify our outreach to the different suppliers, and we have to speed up the work on interconnections.” President von der Leyen also underlined that EU needed more renewable and clean energy.
On the first day of the Summit, European leaders also touched upon the topic of the rule of law. “We all have a stake in this crucial issue, because we know that the rule of law ensures mutual trust, it gives legal certainty throughout the EU, and it ensures equality between Member States and for each and every citizen of the EU,” von der Leyen stressed. She said that there was a long road ahead concerning Poland, a road that is a combination of ‘dialogue, legal response and concrete action' to restore the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
Speaking about migration, discussed on the second day of the meeting, President von der Leyen reiterated her call to the leaders to make progress on the Pact, needed for an effective common migration and asylum policy. Commenting on the situation at the borders with Belarus, she said the EU had already proposed targeted measures to reverse visa facilitation for the regime and its proxies, and she called for more concerted action, including with third countries.
Commenting on foreign affairs and Afghanistan in particular, President said that the EU was taking a ‘leadership position' in the global solidarity effort - with EUR 1 billion worth Afghan Support Package - and was making sure displaced Afghans were supported inside and outside their country.
Leaders also discussed a number of other important topics, from COVID-19 to digital to trade.