EU rushes out $300 billion roadmap to ditch Russian energy
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s executive arm moved Wednesday to jump-start plans for the 27-nation bloc to abandon Russian energy amid the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine, proposing a nearly 300 billion-euro ($315 billion) package that includes more efficient use of fuels and faster rollout of renewable power.
The European Commission’s investment initiative is meant to help the 27 EU countries start weaning themselves off Russian fossil fuels this year. The goal is to deprive Russia, the EU’s main supplier of oil, natural gas and coal, of tens of billions in revenue and strengthen EU climate policies.
“We are taking our ambition to yet another level to make sure that we become independent from Russian fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels when announcing the package, dubbed REPowerEU.
With no end in sight to Russia’s war in Ukraine and European security shaken, the EU is rushing to align its geopolitical and climate interests for the coming decades. It comes amid troubling signs that have raised concerns about energy supplies that the EU relies on and have no quick replacements, including Russia cutting off member nations Poland and Bulgaria after they refused a demand to pay for natural gas in rubles.
The bloc’s dash to ditch Russian energy stems from a combination of voluntary and mandatory actions. Both reflect the political discomfort of helping fund Russia’s military campaign in a country that neighbors the EU and wants to join the bloc.
An EU ban on coal from Russia is due to start in August, and the bloc has pledged to try to reduce demand for Russian gas by two-thirds by year's end. Meanwhile, a proposed EU oil embargo has hit a roadblock from Hungary and other landlocked countries that worry...