Scholz calls on EU to channel Ukraine’s unity into climate reforms – POLITICO

BERLIN – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday called on the European Union to apply the agreement the bloc reached on Russia’s war in Ukraine to sweeping climate reforms.

During an hour-long question and answer session in the German Bundestag, Scholz said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “miscalculated” when the EU agreed to impose sanctions on Moscow and to provide arms and financial aid to Kyiv.

“We must now use this unity to make great progress in Europe, so that a momentum can develop that goes far beyond that,” said the Chancellor.

Scholz said the top priority is to advance climate reforms to shift EU energy production to renewables and reduce vulnerabilities stemming from dependencies on foreign supplies.

“In my view, it is important that we now show solidarity in dealing with the challenges posed by Russian aggression and the economic consequences of the sanctions,” he said. “And that means first and foremost that we have to ensure that Europe stands on its own two feet when it comes to energy supply and makes itself independent of fossil resources, in particular the need to import coal, oil and gas.”

However, the EU has struggled of late to maintain the unity it found in the early days of the war, with some countries calling for a swift ban on Russian energy imports, while Berlin and others have argued it would be too costly and put Europe in would mislead recession.

Scholz’s admonition reflected the German government’s growing concerns about the sluggish pace of the EU’s Fit for 55 package, a pillar of the bloc’s Green Deal climate plan, in legislative discussions between EU countries.

Germany has tried in vain to insert language into the recent European Council conclusions that would have highlighted the importance of the EU’s switch to renewable energy for the bloc’s overall security.

Asked about Russian-Ukrainian peace talks, Scholz stressed that Moscow should not dictate the terms of a deal to Ukraine. He said Kyiv had already made “a major concession to the aggressor” by agreeing to discuss the possibility of neutrality for Ukraine.

Referring to the mass killings in the Kiev suburb of Bucha, Scholz made it clear that Berlin – like other western capitals – had no doubt that Russian forces had committed war crimes.

“Prior to their withdrawal, Russian soldiers massacred Ukrainian civilians, including children, women and the elderly,” he said, adding, “The killing of civilians is a war crime. To put it bluntly, the perpetrators and their employers must be held accountable.” Scholz calls on EU to channel Ukraine's unity into climate reforms - POLITICO

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