Bali. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday reiterated the bloc’s determination to depart completely from Russian energy supplies and outlined the plan to seek new, long-term suppliers of clean energy.
Speaking on the margins of the G20 Summit in Indonesia’s Bali Island, von der Leyen also said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reopened the wound of the global economy not yet fully recovered from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We live in a truly volatile global economy and obviously changing climate and on top of that … we see that Russia’s war is rubbing salt in the wound of the economic recovery of Covid-19,” she said in a special forum discussing the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) initiative.
The forum was co-hosted by von der Leyen, US President Joe Biden, and his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo.
The war in Ukraine that severely disrupted energy supplies to the European Union prompted the 27-member economic bloc to reevaluate their energy, trade, and security relationships with Russia.
“What is the situation in the EU? We have decided to diversify completely away from the Russian fossil fuels,” she said.
“We have understood and learned our lesson that it was an unhealthy dependency, unsustainable, and we want reliable and forward-looking connections. And this is why we’re launching the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.”
The initiative is expected to establish a long-term and reliable partnership in energy supplies as the EU wants “to leapfrog to clean energy” -- not only to have it home-grown but also to import it.
“From the European side, the contribution is so-called Global Gateway, it’s our 300 billion euros investment program for abroad for the next five years, combined with the wish to harness the power and knowledge of the private sector,” von der Leyen said.
She vowed that the Global Gateway or the PGII is not just investing massively in the state-of-the-art infrastructure, but is also investing in the local capacity of partner countries.
The partnership will be demand-driven because there is an enormously rising demand for renewable energy, she said, adding that the EU has partners around the globe with abundant of clean energy potential resources.
“Europe can turn into the world’s largest market for their energy exports. What is necessary is investment and infrastructure. That’s why we have to team up,” she said.
The side event of the G20 Summit was attended also by the leaders and ministers from Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Senegal, and the United Kingdom.