The incoming Czech EU Presidency defined energy security as a priority for the next six months. Prague says the main short-term goal is to phase out Europe’s dependency on Russian fossil fuels, which is currently more pressing than the green transition.
The Czech Republic will take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union starting on 1 July. According to their programme, in the next six months, the Czech Republic will focus on five closely linked priority areas, one of which is energy security.
“The EU cannot be vitally dependent on countries that directly threaten its security and must therefore break its dependence on Russian gas, oil and coal,” starts the programme.
The Czech Presidency indicated clearly that they wish to focus on the EU’s energy security issues, which are currently more pressing than the energy transition.
During its presidency, Prague intends to push the implementation of the European Commission’s REPowerEU plan presented in May, which aims to diversify sources, increase energy savings and accelerate the transition to low-emission and renewable energy sources in order to phase out dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
The Czech Presidency also indicated that it’s ready to work on the implementation of the regulation of gas reserves, such as filling storages in the run-up to winter, and the promotion of voluntary joint purchases, so that the EU uses its weight in a way similar to the purchase of vaccines.
Hydrogen will also be on the table to help the decarbonisation of the EU industry and the transition from natural gas. Prague says it requires the implementation of an ambitious plan for the development of hydrogen infrastructure, storage and terminals.
“Fit for 55 creates the basis for decarbonisation. However, the Czech Presidency will focus especially on the thorough implementation of the main short-term objective to remove dependence on Russian fossil fuels,” says the programme.
The Czech Presidency will also deal with energy efficiency (EED) and the use of renewable energy. At the same time, they consider the development of energy infrastructure is crucial, as it will strengthen the energy resilience of the EU as a whole.
The Czech Presidency also sees a role for nuclear energy in ensuring the EU’s energy security and meeting the EU’s climate goals.
In the field of transport, the Presidency will concentrate on reducing emissions, promoting environmentally friendly modes of transport and infrastructure for alternative fuels, as a key prerequisite for the development of clean mobility.
At the same time, it will focus on the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) to facilitate transport flows across Member States and support the decarbonisation of transport.
Prague says it will work on implementing an appropriate mix of instruments that will reduce the negative social and economic impact of high energy prices. They will support energy savings in households, which are becoming increasingly important in view of inflationary pressures and rising energy prices.