With energy costs remaining high at home and abroad, a Ukrainian offensive showing early success, and significant measures for EU climate action on the cards, an Irish audience will be more interested in the State of the European Union speech this week than ever before, remarks Green MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg today, MEP Grace O’Sullivan said; “On Wednesday, President Ursula von der Leyen will give her annual State of the European Union address. In previous years this went by with little fanfare at home, but this year is marked by conflict, energy crisis and a need for fast EU action. There is a feeling that Member States working together at EU level is the best way to achieve real positive outcomes for families at home.”
“The Commission recently announced measures to cap the revenues of energy companies which are making obscene profits off the back of the crisis. For example, nuclear power companies have not seen their production costs rise, but they seem happy to raise the prices they charge customers nonetheless. The EU has also proposed capping the price of imported gas, which should help households to make it through the winter. I expect President von der Leyen to address these measures in her speech on Wednesday, as MEPs we will be working to improve the legislation as a matter of urgency.”
“In the long term however we cannot lose sight of climate and biodiversity action,” MEP O’Sullivan continued: “In the end, the energy crisis is caused by our historic dependence on fossil fuels and inefficient overproduction and consumption. We are also working this week on some of the most significant EU legislation on deforestation in years. EU consumption is one of the main drivers of deforestation around the world, which in turn accelerates climate change and biodiversity collapse. This legislation will require companies to ensure that the products they buy and sell are ‘deforestation-free’ and that ecosystems are protected.However it is disappointing to see some MEPs proposing to exclude banks from that process, meaning they will not be held to account for bankrolling deforestation in places like the Amazon. I will be calling on Irish MEPs to be more ambitious in this regard.”