MEPs assess European Council decisions with Presidents Michel and von der Leyen 

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MEPs took stock of the outcome of the 20-21 October European Council © European Union 2022  

On Wednesday, MEPs discussed the outcome of the October summit, which focussed on Russia’s war against Ukraine, energy, climate change, Iran and relations with China.

Opening the debate, European Council President Charles Michel said the last summit, which concentrated on energy prices, had been a “pivotal” one, awaited by citizens, businesses and governments alike. The summit had overcome differences and agreed on a plan, he told MEPs.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told MEPs that the current energy context required “urgent actions and strategic foresight”. Gas storage needed to remain on everyone’s radar to avoid a scarcity by the end of next summer. She also highlighted that a quick transition to renewable energy is needed, notably through a proposal for a new emergency regulation that would simplify permit requirements to unlock many renewable energy projects. Maintaining European industrial competitiveness through more flexible state aid rules and REPowerEU is also a priority, she said.

MEPs demanded that the work on reforming the electricity market should speed up in order to decouple electricity prices from those of gas. Unused loans in the Recovery and Resilience Fund should be used to improve energy infrastructure, and renewables should be deployed more quickly. They also called for further measures to protect citizens and businesses who are struggling to pay rising energy bills, as well as a windfall tax on the profits of energy companies. Several MEPs highlighted the need for action to ensure that EU industries do remain competitive, given that non-EU countries in some cases heavily subsidise their own industries.

Watch the full debate here