European Commission chief signals transition to greener economy

Ursula von der Leyen

The top European Union official said the 27-nation bloc should avoid becoming dependent on untrustworthy countries, as it has done with Russia and its fossil fuels, amid the transition to a greener economy. green.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the “economies of the future” will no longer depend on oil and coal.

She said the green and digital transitions will increase the need for materials like lithium and silicon metal required for batteries, chips, electric vehicles or wind turbines.

The EU chief executive said: “We rely on a handful of producers around the world. We must therefore avoid falling into the same trap as with oil and gas.

Ms von der Leyen said that the EU had entered into material partnerships with countries like Canada.

She added that the war in Ukraine has strengthened Europe’s resolve to quickly get rid of Russian fossil fuels.

EU countries have approved an embargo on Russian coal but have yet to reach an agreement on oil sanctions.

Davos Forum in Switzerland
European Commission President also pledged support for Ukraine (AP)

Ms von der Leyen also said Russia’s war in Ukraine should end in a “strategic failure” for the invading country, as she promised the bloc would continue to invest heavily to support Ukraine.

As well as economic sanctions imposed on Russia and military aid provided to Ukraine, Ms von der Leyen said the EU had offered more than €10bn (£8.4bn) in aid macro-financial package, the largest package ever offered to a third country. .

She told the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum that the EU is “mobilising all our economic power” and “we will, hand in hand, help Ukraine rise from the ashes”.

Ms von der Leyen added that reconstruction efforts should also aim to modernize Ukraine’s administration – a requirement if the country is to join the 27-nation bloc in the future.

She said the reforms should “firmly establish the rule of law and the independence of the (Ukrainian) judiciary” and help fight corruption.

Ms von der Leyen also said that Russia can be reintegrated into the orbit of European nations if it finds its way back to “democracy, the rule of law, respect for the rules-based international order”.

Highlighting the historical and cultural ties between Europe and Russia, the EU chief executive said reconciliation is “certainly a distant dream and hope.

“But it also means that our resistance to this brutal invasion is resistance to the Russian leadership. It is the Russian people who decide the future of their country. They have it in their hands.”

John Kerry
John Kerry addresses delegates (AP)

Tuesday’s agenda in Davos is jam-packed with sessions on one of the meeting’s key themes – climate change.

US climate envoy John Kerry told delegates that Russia’s war in Ukraine should not discourage climate goals.

Speaking at a press conference on accelerating efforts towards net zero, Mr Kerry said “we should not allow the creation of a false narrative” that war “somehow avoids need to move forward and address the climate crisis”.

He said it is possible both to meet the need for increased energy from fossil fuels in the near term, especially in Europe, and to stay the course to reduce emissions over the next few years.

Meanwhile, the head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has said the upcoming climate change summit in Egypt in November will be a “pivotal moment” for the planet.

Patricia Espinosa Cantellano says negotiations are over and implementation begins as an investment in “a better future for all”.

spanish chef
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed support for Sweden and Finland joining NATO, despite Turkey’s objections (AP)

She said governments must now assess how they can attract the right investments for the energy transition.

In an address to delegates earlier, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he believed Sweden and Finland would succeed in joining NATO despite Turkey’s objections to joining.

Mr Sanchez said that “the political will of the allies is to welcome these two countries”.

He said Spain will “accelerate all the parliamentary processes” of the two Nordic nations important for the stability of NATO and the European Union.

Turkey has opposed what it sees as Finland’s and Sweden’s support for groups it sees as terrorists and their blocking of arms sales.

Regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mr Sanchez said it was “imperative that we do everything possible to restore food productions, trade systems and ensure food security for the most vulnerable”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently accused Russia of weaponizing food and hijacking grain that Ukraine produces for millions around the world.

UN food chief David Beasley has warned that the war has created “an unprecedented crisis” of escalating food prices that is already sparking protests, riots and growing hunger.

Aurora J. William