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S&Ds: No to energy poverty and yes to decarbonisation of industry with new laws on gas and hydrogen

Date

11 Apr 2024

Sections

Energy

The Socialists and Democrats today led the drive in the European Parliament to adopt the updated EU legislation on common rules for the internal markets on renewable and natural gases and hydrogen. This is a major step towards reaching the EU goal of climate neutrality by 2050. The new rules will provide better consumer protection and strengthen security of supply. The S&D Group is convinced this is of vital importance in order to tackle the energy crisis caused by multiple factors, including the Russian illegal war on Ukraine and its consequences for the security of European citizens and businesses. The legislation adopted today consists of a regulation and a directive proposed by the European Commission to the European Parliament and the member states as a part of the Fit for 55 package.

Jens Geier, S&D negotiator on the directive in the committee on industry, research and energy, said: 

“The gas directive lays ground for the decarbonisation of the gas market. The development of a European hydrogen market is of utmost importance for industries that are hard to decarbonise, but at the same time provide many workplaces, contribute considerably to our position on the world market and bring a lot of profit to the EU. Steel and chemical industries are clear examples in this regard. 

“When it comes to gas supply, vulnerable groups of people, as well as small and medium enterprises, will be better protected from cut offs in the future, especially in the winter season. For this purpose, our group is proud we managed to include provisions bounding member states to take measures to prevent disconnections. 

“A directive means national governments will be given the freedom to decide what is the best way to adapt the spirit of this particular legislation. However, with the adoption of the directive we set the framework that provides member states with additional instruments to tackle unfair energy pricing and to react faster in the face of price shocks. Member states will have the responsibility to prevent people finding themselves in the position of making the horrible choice between eating and heating. Thus, our group delivers on one of our key commitments we took to European citizens with our campaign Bring the bills down.”

Patrizia Toia, S&D negotiator on the regulation in the committee on industry, research and energy, said:

“Our group made it possible to have an integrated energy system that will ensure energy security, affordable prices, clean energy sources and a better oversight on market functioning. I am happy the Socialists and Democrats put this at the heart of the regulation, which will be applied directly as an EU law by all 27 member states. It paves the way for a fast uptake of a renewable and low-carbon gas and hydrogen ecosystem. 

“Thanks to our group, the new regulation includes reinforced provisions on joint procurement for gas, and potentially for hydrogen, as well as strengthened transparency on price-setting mechanisms to avoid speculative conducts and excessive gas price volatility on energy markets. The S&D Group promised to Europeans that we want to strengthen all actions to put an end to energy poverty - now we deliver on this promise. 

“The regulation we adopted today revises the current one in force since 2009. Many things have changed since then and one thing is more certain than ever - we must phase out dependence on imports of natural gas. Not just from Russia, but from any third country. This is crucial if we really want to achieve greater European autonomy.”

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