Thank you so much, Petr, Prime Minister Fiala,
Thank you so much Roberta, Madam President,
We have been discussing in the last days the details of the Czech Presidency – congratulations again for a very successful start. We were in Litomyšl, as a College of Commissioners, last Friday. We went through all the different topics in detail. So today allow me to focus on basically the three main topics or the main mottos for your Presidency, that you chose. Under ‘Europe as a Task’, you have said: Rethink, Rebuild, Repower. And indeed, in Repower, the main focus is to have the same direction of travel, to get rid of the dependency on Russian fossil fuels, and over time to get rid of our dependency on fossil fuels overall.
So how are we going to work on that during the Czech Presidency? We have presented the package REPowerEU. It is basically three pillars. The first one is diversification away from Russia towards trustworthy, reliable suppliers. We are on our way there. The second is energy efficiency – a very powerful tool. And the third is massive investment in renewable energy. And along with this REPowerEU package come EUR 300 billion to be invested in the European Green Deal, and precisely in the renewable energy that we will need over time. So I count, during your Presidency, on a rapid adoption of REPowerEU.
For Repower is, of course, also the second topic, Fit for 55. The Council has found its position. The Parliament has found its position. So we are very much looking forward, Petr, to having you in the trilogues now managing the completion of the files. And if I look at the very instant work we are doing, we are preparing for all eventualities what gas supply from Russia is concerned. The Commission will present in two weeks an emergency plan based on national emergency plans in case of a disruption or a full cut-off of Russian gas. We are in very close cooperation also on this topic.
Rebuild: Of course, the topic of Rebuild is dominated by the reconstruction of Ukraine, and really for Ukraine during this atrocious war. But we will also focus on domestic topics. And here, I want to take two examples. We have created, in the wake of the pandemic, a Recovery Plan, NextGenerationEU, for the recovery of our economy. Here, what is now important: we have disbursed already EUR 100 billion, another EUR 700 billion of investment under NextGenerationEU are ready to be deployed. So we will work intensively on that during the Presidency.
The second topic is the design of fiscal rules of our Stability and Growth Pact. Here, the challenge will be to reconcile financial sustainability and the obvious investment needs that are out there. And the Commission will present a proposal right after the summer.
But I do not want to miss to mention also the digital for Rebuild. Here, we want to conclude negotiations under your Presidency, for example on the European electronic identity, on AI, on the European Chips Act, and possibly on the Data Act.
And last but not least, Rethink. Of course, many topics are possible under Rethink, but I want to mention the Conference on the Future of Europe. You know that I will be coming forward with my first proposals from the Conference on the Future of Europe during my State of the Union speech in mid-September. So I am very much looking forward to working with you during this Presidency.