Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis participated on Thursday and Friday in Brussels in a meeting of the European Council, where he underscored the need for a coordinated and fast European approach to secure sustainable cuts in energy prices.
“President Klaus Iohannis argued during the meeting that a coordinated and fast European approach is needed to secure sustainable cuts in energy prices. He voiced his appreciation for the new set of measures worked out by the European Commission to improve the level of energy prices, showing that they also meet the elements requested by Romania, while being a considerable step forward that will require further consolidation. The President of Romania also showed that an approach is necessary that aims at both short-term actions to keep prices in check, as well as a long-term, future-oriented approach,” according to the Romanian Presidential Administration.
Regarding the immediate measures, Iohannis welcomed the creation of the necessary framework for joint European procurement on a voluntary basis so that the EU’s share in the negotiations can be used, which leads to obtaining better prices for final consumers. He emphasised the need for this mechanism to be designed in such a way that it is effectively accessible to all parties interested in it.
The President voiced general support for the measures aimed at cutting natural gas prices, saying that setting up a dynamic price corridor can provide a useful tool for managing price peaks, while maintaining the competitiveness of the market. He also pointed to decoupling of electricity and natural gas prices by reforming the electricity market, as the European Commission announced its intention to put forth concrete scenarios in this sense.
Regarding the long-term approach, Iohannis mentioned the importance of preparing for the future through investment in infrastructure, interconnections and the development of new energy sources, all of which require adequate funding, with the aim of securing a sufficient amount of energy at affordable prices for consumers while preserving the competitiveness of European industry. He said that Romania encourages the development of new energy sources, mentioning the exploitation potential of the Black Sea gas reserves.
European leaders discussed energy in connection with the economic situation and coordination measures to ensure the resilience of European economies. In the face of Russia’s weaponisation of energy, the European Union will remain united to protect its citizens and businesses and take the necessary measures as a matter of urgency according to the press statement.
The European leaders requested the Council of the European Union and the European Commission to adopt as urgently as possible legislative decisions that take into account the different energy mixes, the national circumstances of the member states, as well as their impact on the existing contracts.
A first decision concerns voluntary joint purchases of gas, except for binding demand aggregation for 15% of storage filling needs, according to national needs, exploiting the Union’s collective market weight and making full use of the EU Energy Platform.
Other decisions regard a new complementary price benchmark by early 2023 that more accurately reflects conditions on the gas market, as well as a temporary dynamic price corridor on natural gas transactions to immediately limit episodes of excessive gas prices, taking into account the safeguards set out in a proposed Council regulation. Also, a temporary EU framework to cap the price of gas in electricity generation, including a cost-and-benefit analysis; improvements to the functioning of energy markets to increase market transparency, alleviate liquidity stress, eliminate factors that amplify the volatility of gas prices and preserve financial stability to boost the development of renewable sources, as well as identifying energy solidarity measures in case of gas supply disruptions at national, regional or the EU level, in the absence of bilateral solidarity agreements.
All the relevant tools at national and EU levels will be mobilised to enhance the resilience of the European economies and preserve Europe’s global competitiveness energy solidarity measures to strengthen the termination of the economies, with the maintenance of the competitiveness of the European Union at the global level, fair competition conditions and the integrity of the single market. The European Council expressed its commitment to close coordination and highlighted the importance of common solutions at the European level, where appropriate, said the Presidential Administration.
In addition, European leaders reiterated the need to step up investment in energy efficiency and future-proof energy infrastructure, including interconnections, natural gas storage and innovative renewable energy technologies. The European Council invited the European Commission to accelerate the work on the structural reform of the electricity market and requested additional progress regarding the Energy Union.
Discussions in the European Council also covered the latest developments in relation to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, including its consequences in Ukraine and elsewhere. The external relations of the European Union were also discussed, with an emphasis on the preparation of the future EU – Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, the relationship with China and the preparations for the 27th Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention of the UN on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh (COP27).
In terms of food security, President Klaus Iohannis highlighted Romania’s key role in facilitating grain exports from Ukraine
President Klaus Iohannis also highlighted at the European Council meeting held in Brussels, Romania’s key role in facilitating grain exports from Ukraine, showing that, in the current geopolitical context, the protection of critical infrastructure becomes a top priority.
“In terms of food security, President Klaus Iohannis highlighted Romania’s key role in facilitating grain exports from Ukraine, since so far over 5.2 million tons of grain have transited our country to reach the international market. At the same time, Romania’s president has shown that, in the current geopolitical context, the protection of critical infrastructure becomes a top priority, welcoming in this sense the European Commission’s proposal for a coordinated approach in order to strengthen the resilience of critical infrastructure,” the Presidential Administration also informed in a release sent to AGERPRES.
According to the release, the head of state referred to the recent escalations of the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine, through attacks on civilians and critical infrastructure, the illegal annexation of the four regions, the decree of partial mobilization, showing that these represent additional evidence of “irresponsible” behavior of the Russian Federation, which has gone to another level and which calls for a common, united and strong response from the European Union and a solid transatlantic coordination.
The President reiterated Romania’s support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining support for this country as long as it is needed, on all levels. In this sense, the head of state welcomed the recent decisions regarding the establishment of a military assistance mission for Ukraine and the continuation of support through a new tranche of the European Peace Facility, as concrete measures to respond to the acute needs of this country. Klaus Iohannis spoke in favor of identifying the best solutions for further ensuring adequate financial support for Ukraine, based on a structured and predictable approach.
The head of state also drew attention to the implications of the “irresponsible” actions of the Russian Federation on the security of other partners in the region, especially on the Republic of Moldova, pleading for the continuation of European efforts to strengthen their resilience.
He also highlighted the importance of maintaining pressure on the Russian Federation by all available means, welcoming the restrictive measures already adopted and expressing support for new ones, with the aim of eroding the capacity and political will to continue the war. The President reiterated that Romania is a strong supporter of international efforts to ensure accountability for all serious crimes committed in Ukraine.
As to Belarus, Iohannis emphasized the need to send a clear and coordinated message regarding the strong response that will be formulated by the European Union in the case of this state’s contribution to the escalation of aggression against Ukraine.