First of all, I want to thank you, Mr President, and you, Mr Chancellor, for the invitation to this roundtable. It is absolutely the right topic at the right time.
Because I think what we see, in 2022, is that there are tectonic changes in the energy market. It has to do, of course, with the war that Russia unleashed against Ukraine. Eight months ago the war started. And since then, we have seen skyrocketing prices for fossil fuels. The driver for that is the fact that Russia has cut 80% of the pipeline gas to the European Union. You must know that before the war, Russia was the biggest supplier of fossil fuel energy worldwide. And the European Union was its biggest customer. These days are over. What we did is: We diversified to trusted partners. We did a lot of saving – 15%. But the most important is accelerating, scaling up renewable energy. And that is why this high-level roundtable is so timely.
I do not want to focus on the European domestic elements. The Chancellor has already, rightly so, described our goals in the European Union for green hydrogen. We have a huge investment package domestically, we call it REPowerEU – with EUR 300 billion. But I want to focus on what we are doing abroad. And here, you must see that this whole energy demand that was once supplied by Russia is now shifting, if we do it right, to the Global South. Because the demand should go into renewable energy, clean energy. Every kilowatt-hour of renewable energy that we produce is not only good for the climate, but it is also good for our independence and our security of supply. That is why this moment is so decisive to look at the Global South. You have the resources in abundance – wind and sun. What is necessary is the investment and the infrastructure. That is where we have to team up. Therefore, we created the investment package, Global Gateway, of EUR 300 billion. EUR 150 billion of those are devoted to Africa and a big emphasis is on renewable energy.
So again, if we do it right, right now, we now have the investment offensive in clean green hydrogen. During this COP, we are signing hydrogen partnerships with Egypt, with Kazakhstan and with Namibia, for example. And very important is: yes, there is public money, but of course we also need the engagement of the private sector. Because for a true partnership that is at eye level, the idea is that the technology goes to the Global South, that the skills are developed in the Global South. That is important. Of course, we invest in the infrastructure, the interconnectors, pipelines that have to be hydrogen-ready – you name it. But important is that it is not a one-way but a joint endeavour that we are together engaging in.
So my message is here: Thank you very much for this very timely high-level roundtable. It is the moment where we have to decide whether we will be locked in in fossil fuels – that is really dangerous – or whether we leapfrog forward into the renewables. And there, green hydrogen is one of the key energy sources.