For the Czech Presidency, Minister for European Affairs Bek announced that the summit will give a “strong, common European response” to Russia’s war against Ukraine and soaring energy prices. He reiterated the EU’s “unwavering support for Ukraine”, stressed that Russia will be held accountable for the war crimes it is committing and announced that, with regard to the energy crisis, Europe will protect the most vulnerable, while staying competitive.
Commission President von der Leyen called Russia’s attacks on civilians and civil infrastructure “acts of pure terror”. The EU will back Ukraine “for as long as it takes”. The best response to the Russian war on energy is “European solidarity and unity” she said, pointing to the Commission’s proposals to address the energy crisis. Buying gas together and pooling demand, saving energy and sharing gas are absolutely critical. “Energy solidarity is a fundamental principle of our treaties”, she said. With regard to electricity prices, she said that the “Iberian model needs to be considered at EU level” and called for massive investment into infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewables.
In their responses, MEPs urged EU leaders to take bold and determined actions to address the energy and cost of living crises without further delay. Most called for European solidarity and unity in the face of what they labelled a Russian attack on Europe using energy supply as a weapon. Some welcomed the Commission’s proposals to contain energy prices, in particular the mechanism for joint gas purchases, while many considered that they come late and fall short of what is necessary.
Beyond the actions in the energy field, several MEPs asked for stronger EU social initiatives, including a new support instrument for the most vulnerable, as well as a European investment fund, to consolidate Europe’s energy and industrial autonomy and support the green transition, among others aims.
Watch the full debate here.