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Energy will be a crucial priority for the Swedish Presidency during its EU semester. The other key points will be the Unity of Europe, the Competitiveness, the Democratic Values and the Rule of Law.
The Swedish Presidency will continue on the way to tackle high and volatile energy prices while addressing long-term energy market reform.
“The global climate challenge requires a global response. Europe must lead by example, by delivering on ambitious climate goals, boosting growth and competitiveness. We will put Fit for 55 into action and speed up the energy transition”, the Sweden Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, said during the launch of the EU semester’s priorities.
“In periods of industrial and technological transition, early movers have a competitive edge. European companies and industries are already leading the transition. Joint European steps towards independence from fossil fuels are necessary not only for the green transition, but for our security”, he added. According to the Sweden Presidency the “European companies that provide green solutions will be in high global demand and can help drive the transition towards a circular economy”. The Sweden Prime Minister explained that transition to a resource-efficient, fossil-free future will require major investments in innovative industries that can translate the best ideas and innovations into functional solutions. “We need to provide the right regulatory framework and policies to attract these investments”, Kristersson said.
The other key point of the Sweden Presidency will be the competitiveness that is extremely important for making the EU energy sector independent. “However competitiveness also means resilience. Openness must never lead to naivety, or unilateral dependence on Russian energy or Chinese minerals. The EU must therefore spread the risk by safeguarding diversified and mutually deepened trade with other countries. Facilitating digital services in new trade agreements, and in the internal market, is an important task for the Swedish Presidency. But also increased own production to secure the supply chains in strategically important areas. During its Presidency, Sweden will therefore lead the continuing work on a European semiconductor ecosystem. This sounds technical – and it is. But it is also absolutely essential if we are to electrify our entire vehicle fleet ”, the Prime Minister said.
Kristersson underlines that: “The climate transition begins and ends with energy. This applies to transport, and it applies to industry”. For the Sweden Presidency the “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also made phasing out fossil fuels even more pressing”. In his speech, the Kristersson reminded that “moving away from fossil fuels began in the 1970s as a cost issue. In the 80s and 90s, it became an environmental and climate issue, too. And now it is also a security issue”. Therefore, during a cold winter, “the EU must stand united to cope with the twin tasks of achieving the energy transition and warming European homes” he added.
Sweden will priorites its work to “hasten the electrification of the EU”. The focus will be on a new Batteries Regulation and continuing the negotiations on increasing fossil-free energy production. “We will advance the work on the proposals in the gas market package to replace Russian fossil energy with other, low-carbon energy sources. At the same time, the EU Member States that wish to do so can continue to take responsibility by building new nuclear plants”, the Sweden Prime Minister stated in his conclusions.
Written by: Maria Irene Giuntella