On 8 March 2022, the European Commission published a communication on a Joint European Action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy. The communication outlines a plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030, starting with gas.
It sets out the short-term measures to be undertaken by the EU and Member States to (i) protect European consumers from energy price hikes and (ii) ensure that the EU will have sufficient gas stocks as winter approaches.
In addition, the communication lays the foundations for the REPowerEU plan, which the Commission proposes to implement with Member States as from summer 2022, to progressively eliminate the EU’s dependence on Russian gas by raising the EU’s decarbonisation ambitions and accelerating the pace of decarbonisation. This communication is not legally binding on companies nor Member States. Rather, it is an action plan and the initiatives announced will have to be further developed before their consequences can be fully appreciated. Some of these initiatives will be addressed in the ongoing negotiations of the ‘Fit for 55’ package and the ‘Hydrogen and Decarbonised Gas’ package, and will likely figure prominently in the debates.