European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has urged member states to reduce their overall electricity consumption.
She made the call in the wake of surging gas and electricity prices as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Delivering her annual State of the Union address at the European Parliament Wednesday, she announced plans to create a new European Hydrogen Bank to help guarantee the purchase of hydrogen, notably by using resources from the Innovation Fund.
The Commission will invest 3 billion euros to help building the future market for hydrogen.
It also plans to introduce a deep and comprehensive reform of the electricity market.
Reducing demand during peak hours will make supply last longer, and it will bring prices down, according to the EU chief.
She proposed a cap on the revenues of companies that produce electricity at a low cost.
This is estimated to raise more than 140 billion euro for Member States to cushion the blow directly.
Von der Leyen urged major oil, gas and coal companies that are making huge profits to give a crisis contribution.
The European Commission will work on establishing a more representative benchmark used in the gas market.
The temporary state aid framework will be amended in October to allow for the provision of state guarantees, while preserving a level playing field.
EU dependence on Russian gas through pipeline has reduced from 40 percent of imports to 9 percent, according to Von der Leyen.
The EU will double its firefighting capacity over the next year.
Another 10 light amphibious aircrafts and three helicopters will be added to the bloc’s firefighting fleet.
The EU chief pledged that Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine will remain unshakeable, and made it clear that the European Union sanctions against Russia “are here to stay”.
She promised 100 million euros to support the rehabilitation of damaged Ukrainian schools.
The Commission will work with Ukraine to ensure seamless access to the Single Market, and bring Ukraine into the European free roaming area.
Von der Leyen said she is going to Kyiv Wednesday to discuss this in detail with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.
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