I believe that the winter will go well, said European Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas in a conversation he had at the 26th Economist conference, when asked about energy, stressing that Europe has already found new suppliers and is promoting the big investment program REpowerEU, while preparing solidarity plan and for the worst case scenario of a complete stoppage of natural gas flow.
In the same matter, he also mentioned that the Commission submitted to the prime ministers of the member states the toolkit and the strategic plan for the measures they can take in order to relieve the most vulnerable citizens, noting that “this has already been done in Greece and indeed in a manner compatible with European legislation”.
On immigration, the other big issue in his portfolio, the commissioner with the most “people-centred” role as described by President Ursula von der Leyen, Mr Schinas expressed ambition and optimism that he will complete his term with a comprehensive European agreement.
“My ambition is that at the end of my term Europe will have achieved the historic deal on migration and asylum. We have been proposing since September 2020, the pandemic has delayed us, but now, after the German and French elections, I see a real convergence,” the vice-president said, clarifying that until the end of 2023 he sees a “window of opportunity”, given that after the current Czech presidency, Sweden, which has received the largest number of immigrants, is followed by Spain, which it is, like Greece, on the front line of reception.
In the dialogue with the Economist’s diplomatic editor on the topic “from pandemic to war: is the European model sustainable?”, Mr Schinas pointed out that during the pandemic “the EU has proven to be much more resilient than many thought” and that “resilience and boldness” will also determine its future, while it listed “complacency and stagnation” as its biggest enemies. “These are what are killing the European Plan”, he characteristically said.
Taking stock of the failings of European policy, he said: It took the pandemic for us to realize that we are not producing masks, ventilators and pharmaceutical raw materials, it took us years to realize that we were relying on energy dependence with regimes that we thought would cooperate with ours. social model, was a delusion.
We are now seeking our independence from Russia and we believe that our plan will work, although not overnight, with new more reliable suppliers, the US, Qatar, Egypt, Norway, shared storage and common energy supply.
European citizens must also make their own effort to save energy.