“The College of European Commissioners has adopted a new communication with proposals for measures for joint European action on energy and, compared to last October’s communication, there will be a much stronger focus on the need to reduce dependence of gas supplies from Russia, also through collective measures“. Ambassador Piero Benassi, Italy’s permanent representative to the EU, declared this in the hearing of the joint committees for Foreign and European Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies.”The issue of security of supply and the exponential increase in prices“energy,” Benassi recalled, “has already been on the table of the European Commission and the Member States since last October and the war in Ukraine has obviously made it even more urgent and complex”.
“The Commission, as anticipated in the meeting in Brussels between President Draghi and President von der Leyen, focuses in particular on the diversification of supplies, a path that the Italian government has already taken decisively, including at bilateral level, through an intensified dialogue with the main global suppliers, including LNG, in particular with the missions of Minister Di Maio in Algeria and Qatar, but also exploring the availability of other producing countries “.
“We will also work to improve storage levels within the EU through a better coordination between Member States, voluntary agreements and possible incentives for operators to facilitate the filling of the deposits “, the ambassador underlined at the hearing.” At the same time – he continued – measures will be put in place to accelerate the deployment of renewable energies and investments for the production of hydrogen and other fuels “.
The consequences of the sanctions on Europe
“On the economic consequences” of the sanctions against Russia “the EU and the individual member states plan to develop adequate mitigation measures”, added Benassi. “Inevitably – explained the ambassador – sanctions have a cost for us as well as for other member statesi: everyone suffers from it or will be able to suffer the economic consequences, but the danger we face is such that the priority remains that of stopping the invasion and, in so doing, saving lives ”
“To mitigate the prices on final consumers, citizens and businesses the possibility of interventions by Member States for a ceiling on retail electricity prices and fiscal policy measures will be allowed regarding the extra profits of energy operators deriving from the surge in prices “.
The Commission is also examining the possibility of other measures to mitigate the impact of this sector on citizens and businesses. It will do so in the next few hours also in the light of indications from the Member States. The extraordinary summit in Versailles, scheduled for Thursday and Friday this week, and the ordinary European Council in Brussels on 21 and 22 March next will be called upon to provide answers in this regard.
The waiting list to join the EU
“The rapid political response of the French presidency” of the Council of the European Union “on the activation of the response procedure to the request formulated by Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, is the political response” from the Union, “but it happened, as is the case with enlargement, through the consensus of all 27 member states respond to a population that is under the bombs was perfectly warned by all 27 member countries “of the EU, said the ambassador.” Unity, cohesion and timeliness of the response were elements constantly present in the activity of the EU and if anyone had bet against unity , cohesion and timeliness, well, this first bet has lost it and has lost it sensationally “, he added.
New sanctions on Russia
Any other sanction packages are not excluded. “The situation is evolving on the ground and as long as it evolves in the dramatic way we are witnessing these days, the adoption of further sanctions is to be expected“to Russia, Benassi said.” In the meeting of ambassadors this afternoon in Brussels, which is a normal Coreper, there will be measures on the table “, explained the ambassador.” In part – he anticipated – they are explanatory measures of decisions already assumed in the Official Journal “while” the answer is no in relation to possible energy measures “, he stressed.
Instead, there will be “further listings of persons and entities for both Russia and Belarus”, he concluded. “We need to work, also on a communicative level, to clarify a concept that has been repeated several times also in Europe: the objective of the EU” in its latest measures against Moscow “it is neither hitting the Russian population nor easing the risk of russophobia“with respect to which” we must pay the utmost attention. “” What is happening is an unprecedented reaction on the part of the international community, not just the Western one, to an unprecedented, hateful and intolerable mistake committed by the Russian Federation “.