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Athens, 8 April 2022

Parliamentary Committees briefed by EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson


EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson briefed Members of the European Affairs, Production and Trade and Environment Committees today at a joint meeting on "Affordable, sustainable and secure energy for Europe".

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Environment and Energy Konstantinos Skrekas, who, taking the floor, outlined the government's plan for natural gas supply and storage capacity, noting that critical infrastructure is under completion to enhance the country’s energy security. He noted that the current crisis can only be tackled by coordinated action at European level, also highlighting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ six- point concrete proposal on the restoration of the smooth functioning of European energy markets. The Minister also stressed the need for the European Commission to set up funding mechanisms to address costs of developing infrastructure in the energy sector. Closing, he referred to households’ support during the current crisis, and the stepping up of efforts towards Greece's energy transition in the context of the climate neutrality objective.

Commissioner Kadri Simson, referred to the toolkit presented by the European Commission in October 2021 to mitigate the effects of high energy prices, noting, inter alia, the Commission’s recent approval of a Temporary Crisis Framework for state aid to support companies facing high energy costs. Regarding the need for securing energy supply, she stressed the Commission's proposal of last March, to introduce a minimum gas storage requirement of 80% for each Member State next winter, to rise up to 90% in the coming years, also adding that the voluntary platform for EU Member States’ joint gas procurement is about to be launched. The Energy Commissioner then referred to the REPowerEU plan for Europe's independence from Russian fossil fuel, as well as to the adoption of climate neutrality policies (Fit for 55), while emphasizing that Greece in recent years has laid the foundations for a low-emission economy. Mrs Simson finally congratulated the government on the presentation of the first Greek climate law at the Council of Ministers last November.

The Chairman of the meeting, Mr George Vlachos, highlighted the new, critical international crisis that Europe is facing, due to Russia’s unprovoked invasion in Ukraine, which has resulted in an increase in energy prices. Mr Vlachos referred to the European Commission initiatives to deal with the energy crisis, noting at the same time that Greece has adopted important measures to support vulnerable consumers together with small and medium-sized enterprises. He emphasized the Greek Prime Minister’s success in managing to include an explicit reference to gas price ceilings in the recent European Council conclusions, to be considered -together with other options- by the European Commission. He also noted that Greece pursues specific interventions in the natural gas market.

The Chairperson of the Special Permanent Committee on Environmental Protection Dionysia Avgerinopoulou, stressed the need for an EU joint response to the crisis, noting that the successful completion of the single energy market requires an energy policy review for EU independence from third countries, as well as for providing more affordable energy to citizens and businesses. She stressed the Hellenic Parliament Environmental Protection Committee’s work on the legal framework "Fit for 55", while emphasising that current developments should not undermine Europe's efforts to promote clean energy and climate neutrality. Finally, she highlighted Greece’s innovative approach for increasing the share of renewable energy sources in its energy mix.

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