Brussels, 17 August 2022
See question(s) : E-002024/2022
Answer given by Ms Simson on behalf of the European Commission
The unprecedented energy price hikes are among the reasons for the extension of the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact through 2023. The continued activation of that clause will provide space for national fiscal policy to react promptly when needed. However, the measures should remain temporary and be better targeted to vulnerable households and firms. The REPowerEU initiative and an efficient use of the Recovery and Resilience facility (RRF)1 and other EU funds can significantly support investments and reforms needed to address the root cause of the high prices, i.e. the dependence on fossil fuels, and support the deployment of cheaper renewable energy. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has underscored the urgency to phase out the EU dependency from Russian oil, coal and gas, as emphasised by the Versailles Declaration and the conclusions of the European Council meeting of March 2022.
The REPowerEU Communication of 8 March 2022 sets out how to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030. Measures include diversifying supplies, accelerating the rollout of green technologies and reducing energy demand. On 18 May 2022, the Commission adopted a comprehensive and ambitious REPowerEU plan with concrete measures to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels well before 2030.
In that context, the Commission has published an Action Plan on Bio-methane2 with the aim of achieving 35 bcm3 of annual bio-methane production by 2030. The plan comprises a set of complementary actions covering important areas, including access to finance. This component identifies possible sources of financing through EU funds (CAP4, RRF, Regional Funds,etc.)5. The Commission also plans to design a specific dedicated financial instrument with the support of the EIB.
2 Commission Staff Working Document: Implementing the REPower EU Action Plan: Investment Needs, Hydrogen Accelerator and Achieving the Bio-Methane Targets, SWD(2022)230 final – 18 May 2022.
3 Billion cubic meters.
4 Common Agriculture Policy
5 In particular, a new voluntary transfer to the Recovery and Resilience Facility is authorised of up to 12.5% of the national allocation 2023-2027 under the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) to support measures such as increasing the production of sustainable biomethane and renewable energy. The LIFE programme will open call topics on production of biogas and biomethane from waste and residue streams.