The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed widespread vulnerabilities within the global and European energy markets, amplified by the heavy reliance on the import of fossil-fuels from Russia.

With energy prices threatening to increase further, the European Commission has sought to tackle high prices and ensure secure gas supplies in Europe in the upcoming months through a new energy packaged announced yesterday (24th March). 

Pro-Europe political group Renew Europe has welcomed the package, declaring it an opportunity to boost the European energy market’s efficiency and competitiveness, while ensuring that consumers are able to make affordable and more sustainable choices. 

The group also affirmed the potential to become independent from Russian gas, oil, and coal to avoid financing the war in Ukraine, in addition to reducing supply reliance while also advancing the diversification of energy supply. 

The Commission proposed the introduction of a minimum 80% gas storage level obligation for next winter to ensure security of energy supply, rising to 90% for the following years. 

A Task Force on common gas purchases at EU level is also planned. Aiming to secure ‘well-priced’ imports ahead of next winter, the Task Force will be supported by a joint negotiation team that will help lay the groundwork for future energy partnerships with key suppliers. 

Seeing it as an opportunity to deal with Europe’s energy woes, Morten Petersen, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), stated, “The Commission’s proposals reflect very well the togetherness Europe must demonstrate in order to deal with the current energy crisis, and ultimately put an end to Europe sponsoring Putin’s war machine.” 

“We also need things like faster permits for renewable energy and improved energy efficiency in our houses.” 

To accelerate these goals, Renew Europe has called for a concrete 10-year plan for Europe to achieve full security of energy supply, its diversification and independence, by working on both demand and supply. 

As part of the plan, the group has said that Europe should aim for ‘full independency’ from Russia fossil fuels no later than 2027.