EU Forms Task Force To Support Departure From Russian Fossil Fuels
The European Commission has set up a new Task Force within its Directorate-General for Energy to support the EU Energy Platform and implement the REPowerEU goal of supply diversification.
Following a mandate from the European Council in March 2022, the Commission and the Member States have established the EU Energy Platform to coordinate measures to secure energy supplies for the EU, including through the voluntary common purchase of pipeline gas, LNG, and hydrogen.
The new Task Force will help deliver on the REPowerEU objective of reducing our dependence on Russian fossil fuels, by enabling the Member States and neighboring countries to have access to alternative energy supplies at affordable prices in the coming years.
“In our REPowerEU Plan, we outlined how Europe can get rid of Russian fossil fuels. Now we are giving ourselves the tools to make it happen. It is time to diversify our energy supplies and make the best use of our infrastructure. The Energy Platform Task Force will contribute to Europe's energy security and independence. Through the collective political and economic weight of the EU's 27 Member States and 440 million citizens, we will work to ensure affordable and secure energy imports,” Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said.
The Energy Platform Task Force will start work next week, on June 1, and immediately tackle the new tasks outlined in the REPowerEU Plan adopted on May 18.
It will work towards demand aggregation, coordination of capacity, and negotiation of energy supplies, while also providing support for the Regional Task Forces of the Member States and neighboring countries. Furthermore, it will manage outreach to international partners.
The new Task Force will consist of three units, headed by a Director and reporting to a newly appointed Deputy Director-General Matthew Baldwin, and the Director-General for Energy Ditte Juul Jørgensen, under the political supervision of Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.
The units of the Task Force will deal with the global demand and international negotiations, relations with the Member States and the neighborhood, and international relations.
It is worth reminding that the Commission proposed to create a platform for common gas and hydrogen purchases at the EU level in March when it outlined options to mitigate high energy prices. The idea was endorsed by the EU's Heads of State or Government at the European Council on 25 March.
On 7 April, the Commission established the EU Energy Platform with the Member States at a first meeting chaired by Director-General for Energy, Ditte Juul Jørgensen. It was agreed that the Platform will be a voluntary coordination mechanism supporting the purchase of gas and hydrogen for the Union, making optimal use of the collective political and market weight of the EU.
On 5 May, the Commission and Bulgaria set up a first Regional Taskforce, as part of the EU's Energy Platform, in coordination with neighbors in the Southeast of Europe. Further Regional Task Forces, covering Central Eastern Europe, North-West, and the Baltics will be proposed soon.
In the REPowerEU Plan, the Commission announced that as a next step, and replicating the ambition of the common vaccine purchasing program, it will consider the development of a ‘joint purchasing mechanism' which will negotiate and contract gas purchases on behalf of participating Member States.
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