The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen attended the Green Deal Summit conference, held this Tuesday in Prague, and appreciated the efforts of the Czech presidency of the Council of the EU to approve the Fit for 55 climate standards package, the basis of the Green Deal. According to the president, the European Green Deal favors the Czech side. European companies are willing to innovate but need a predictable environment to invest in innovations and the Green Deal ensures such predictability, said von der Leyen.
The EU countries approved part of the Fit for 55 climate standards package this April. These measures aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade. The vision of climate neutrality on the European continent until 2050 is also possible thanks to the Czech Republic, added von der Leyen.
According to Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, the Green Deal has so far failed to direct the EU towards innovations and economic transformation. If the situation remains the same, Europe can contribute to the prosperity of other continents and the name “old continent” can have a new meaning in the global economy. However, according to him, the project was able to make changes in terms of responsible living and environmental behavior.
The president of the European Commission also spoke in Prague about Europe’s future challenges. These include energy prices, unfair advantages to foreign producers or certain approval processes. According to von der Leyen, the EU was able to overcome the energy crisis last year thanks to unity. Energy prices in Europe, however, remain higher compared to other continents, reducing global competitiveness.
Regarding the unequal support of foreign products, von der Leyen mentioned the Czech car factories that invest heavily in the production of electric cars, however, in the global market they face competition from cheaper production in China. It is heavily subsidized by the state.
According to von der Leyen, Czechia is a country where tradition and modernity always mix and has all the necessary conditions to be “the leader of the clean economy of the future.”
The approved reconstruction plan
Ursula von der Leyen also reported in Prague that the European Commission approved the Czech National Reconstruction Plan which will provide another €2.2 billion to finance clean energy and industrial transformation. The total value of the Plan is about 9.2 billion euros.
In addition to investments in renewable resources and clean transportation, the Plan also includes new investments such as the construction of affordable housing and the strengthening and digitalization of electricity distribution systems. Prime Minister Fiala also discussed with von der Leyen the TAL pipeline that connects the Czech Republic to Italian ports and could reduce Czechia’s dependence on Russian oil. State investments in this project fall under the authorization of the European Commission and Fiala expressed the conviction that the Czech Republic will get it.
The EU representative also praised Czechia’s assistance to Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees in Prague. Von der Leyen also reported that the EU could provide more finance to help Czechia deal with the wave of migration.
In turn, Fiala assured that the Czechia is ready to participate in the defense of the EU’s external borders and rejected the idea of forced “distribution” of illegal migrants between EU countries. According to him, it is not functional and human scale.