Lex Delles attended the EU Council of Energy Ministers

On 4 March 2024, Lex Delles, Minister of the Economy, SME, Energy and Tourism, attended the meeting of the EU Council of Energy Ministers in Brussels. On this occasion, the ministers took stock of the situation in preparation for the winter of 2024/2025 and adopted a recommendation to continue to reduce natural gas consumption by at least 15% compared with consumption before the outbreak of war in Ukraine. According to Minister Lex Delles, "it is important to send a short-term signal about the need to keep up our efforts, and a long-term signal about the need to move away from fossil fuels". Minister Delles also pointed out that reducing gas consumption must not be at the expense of the competitiveness of European industry: "A large part of the reduction in natural gas consumption is due to the cessation of production by certain industrial consumers as a result of a loss of competitiveness. This is neither sustainable nor desirable, and we need to provide better support for these manufacturers' efforts to decarbonise".

The ministers listened to the Ukrainian Energy Minister, German Galushchenko, on the difficult situation facing the Ukrainian energy system in the face of Russian attacks. The discussion was an opportunity for the ministers to reiterate their support for Ukraine and to condemn the Russian regime's use of energy as a geopolitical weapon.

The ministers also discussed the issue of strategic autonomy in a key technology for the energy transition: the production of solar panels. Minister Delles called on the Commission to stand firm against Chinese dumping. Furthermore, according to Lex Delles: "Europe should concentrate on areas where it can make the most of its strengths: innovation, sustainability and the circular economy. Module recycling offers environmental, social and economic benefits, while enhancing the security of supply of critical minerals".

On the fringes of the meeting, Minister Delles took part in a meeting of "friends of renewable energies" alongside his counterparts from 12 other Member States (Austria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands and Portugal). The ministers adopted a joint declaration welcoming the Commission's communication on a vision for 2040 and welcoming the fact that renewable energies are set to account for 90% of electricity consumption by then. For the Luxembourg minister, "these objectives must be accompanied by effective implementation measures, such as speeding up and simplifying the granting of permits, extending networks, and increasing storage capacity and the flexibility of the electricity network".

Press release by the Ministry of the Economy

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