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Press release regarding the Informal Energy Council of 15th and 16th April

Press release regarding the Informal Energy Council of 15th and 16th April

European Energy Ministers met in Brussels on Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 April for an informal ministerial meeting under the Belgian presidency to identify barriers- and find solutions to ensure  a massive roll-out of grid infrastructure across Europe, required to accelerate the energy transition and increase European energy sovereignty. 

The two-day Informal Energy Council, chaired by H.E. Tinne Van der Straeten, Belgian Federal Minister for Energy, represented a unique occasion for European energy ministers to discuss the development of an integrated European electricity grid. Transmission and distribution grids play a crucial role in providing access to abundant volumes of affordable energy for our industries and citizens. By consequence, grids are pivotal in boosting Europe’s industrial competitiveness, in the achievement of our climate and energy objectives, in boosting European energy sovereignty, reducing the bloc’s dependency on the imports of Russian fossil fuels and in promoting social inclusion across the continent. 

Monday’s discussions focused on the need for well-coordinated, integrated planning of European electricity networks and how to ensure the security and resilience of our energy infrastructure. The Ministers also exchanged views on financing and de-risking, as well as leveraging anticipatory investments in electricity grid infrastructure projects.  

In light of the recent targeted attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure by Russia, Ministers were updated on the situation by Ukrainian Minister for Energy, German Galushchenko. The Council of the EU and the European Commission expressed their unwavering support for Ukraine. An extraordinary follow-up meeting in G7+ format to further coordinate energy assistance to Ukraine will be convened in order to assist Ukraine in repairing its energy infrastructure.  

The Ministers and the Commission finished the formal part of the first day of exchanges with a formal signing ceremony of a solar charter between Member States and the European solar industry. This charter is a concrete follow-up from the working lunch discussion hosted by Belgium at the 4 March formal Energy Council and serves to show a clear engagement from European policy makers towards the solar industry as a key technology provider for the energy transition in the years and decades ahead. 

On Tuesday, the agenda centred around driving scale and speed of network development and ensuring adequate supply chains through standardization of grid materials and streamlining permit-granting.  

Furthermore, a press conference was held by the Presidency together with Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič to present the conclusions.  

This event was an important step towards enabling ministers to lay out the energy priorities for the next European Commission regarding the energy infrastructure needs. The build-out of an EU Supergrid will be a crucial enabler for a sustainable, competitive, just and resilient  energy transition in the EU. 

Next steps 

The next formal European Energy Council will take place on Thursday 30th May in Brussels, at which Council Conclusions on the topic of electricity networks will be presented for adoption. 

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