EU energy ministers to discuss prices, energy efficiency and hydrogen in Amiens while a joint meeting with environment ministers to focus on just transition and forests
The EU’s environment and energy ministers will convene in informal meetings in Amiens, France on 20–22 January 2022. Emma Kari, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and Jukka Ihanus, State Secretary to Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä, will represent Finland in the meetings hosted by France.
On 20 January, the environment ministers will discuss the EU’s chemicals strategy, pesticides and deforestation, while the joint meeting of energy and environment ministers on 21 January will focus on just transition. The meeting will explore whether the structure of the ’Fit for 55’ package responds to the challenges of social justice and acceptance, what measures are taken at EU level to ensure that the green transition is both ambitious in its climate policy and fair, and in which sectors the ‘Fit for 55’ package would generate the most growth and employment opportunities.
The agenda also includes the role of forests and wood products in environmental, energy and climate policy. The ministers will discuss economic or legislative measures that could extend the use of wood taken from forests to increase carbon sinks.
Energy ministers to discuss rising energy prices, hydrogen economy and energy efficiency
The three topics of the energy ministers’ meeting on 22 January are energy prices for European consumers, allocation of stricter requirements to Member States under the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, and promotion of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen.
The recent increase in energy prices is an unfortunate development for consumers, but it seems temporary. The EU should refrain from any action that would interfere with the emissions trading system or the electricity market. Issues related to the energy retail market belong mainly to national competence, and the measures should therefore also remain national. Phasing out fossil fuels and increasing renewable and other emission-free energy sources will protect consumers from price shocks in the longer term.
The role of promoting energy efficiency will gain importance in reaching climate targets when energy efficiency measures have real and significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The Member States have great differences in their energy use and energy systems. There is no such single EU-level energy efficiency measure that would have the same impact on emissions in all Member States. Cost-effective measures should be optimised for each Member State on the basis of real country-specific data. Targets based on EU-level modelling may lead to high costs and inefficiency in reducing emissions in the Member States.
As concerns the hydrogen economy, Finland considers it important that development projects and investments by industry can begin soon. Regulation must be open, agile and technology-neutral. The winning solutions are chosen in the market. While ambitious climate policy can be emphasised in the long term, it should not slow down technological and market development in the initial phase.
The ministers’ meetings will also be attended by Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s Vice-President responsible for climate policy and the European Green Deal, Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, and Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.
Riku Huttunen, Director-General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 431 6518
Eero Karjalainen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 501 7746 (EU energy coordination within the Ministry)
Ville Niemi, Senior Specialist, Permanent Representation of Finland to the EU, Brussels, tel. +32 479 470 175