SECRETARY BLINKEN: High Representative Borrell, Josep, thank you. Thank you for bringing us together today and for continuing an ongoing discussion, an ongoing action that we’ve had with the United States and the European Union on an issue that’s critical in the lives of all of our fellow citizens. I’m very much looking forward to pursuing the discussion we actually began earlier this morning. It’s great to be joined, Tobias, by you, Commissioner Simson, our Deputy Secretary of Energy Dave Turk. Very good to be with everyone this morning.

When this council met on February 7th, 2022, Russia was on the verge of invading Ukraine. Europe was on the verge of an energy crisis. President Putin bet that his threat of stopping gas supplies would deter Europe and the world from standing up to his aggression against Ukraine. He was wrong.

He then doubled down – stopping natural gas supplies to many European countries, dramatically reducing flows to others, forcing record-high prices on millions in Europe and around the world. He sought to wipe out Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure – damaging or destroying 50 percent of Ukraine’s grid, leaving millions without reliable power and heat.

And again – he failed. Ukraine stands – and stands strong. Europe stands – and stands strong. The world is reducing its dependence on Russian energy, accelerating the transition to the green economy.

This is possible, in no small part, because of the partnership between the United States and the European Union.

The U.S.-EU Energy Council has worked as never before to help make Europe more energy secure. The United States has more than doubled our supply of natural gas to the continent – exporting 56 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas last year. Because of these and other efforts, Russia’s natural gas only accounted for about 16 percent of the EU’s natural gas imports by the end of 2022 – compared to 37 percent in March of 2022. And as I mentioned, our supplies went up more than twofold – over 140 percent increase between 2021 and 2022.

The EU’s leadership has been vital in this shift – for example, with its Save the Gas for a Safe Winter program, through which citizens voluntarily lowered their electricity use and used more energy efficient appliances. These and other efforts contributed to a 19 percent reduction in natural gas demand between August of 2022 and January of 2023.

We accelerated, as I mentioned, the clean energy transition. The U.S.-EU Task Force on Energy Security is helping our governments and private sector partners share information to boost energy efficiency and diversify supply, like deploying more heat pumps and smart thermostats.

Here, too, the European Union has shown remarkable leadership, increasing its goal of energy from renewables from 40 percent to 45 percent by 2030. EU countries added roughly 50 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity last year – which together generated more electricity than natural gas in 2022.

Last year, the United States passed the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate investment in American history, and we’re heartened that Europe too is working on ambitious clean energy incentives. Through the Clean Energy Incentives Dialogue, which President Biden and President von der Leyen launched last month, we are working together to make sure that these efforts are mutually reenforcing, so that our incentives create a positive feedback loop of innovation, investment for energy transition, jobs for our people.

We also come together to support Ukraine’s energy needs. Together, the EU, the U.S., and our G7+ partners have delivered more than 4,000 power generators, 1,000 transformers, and more than 5 million pieces of equipment, like circuit breakers and cables, to help repair and replace the country’s battered energy grid.

Today, we’ll talk about ways to continue rebuilding Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. We’ll also talk about our shared work to deploy new technologies like clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, among other efforts, to advance the energy transition across Europe and the United States.

These collective efforts are directly benefiting people on both sides of the Atlantic through more affordable, more reliable energy, good-paying jobs, and a safer, more sustainable future.

Today’s discussions will bring us one step closer to that future, and like everyone, I’m eager to get the conversation started. So again, Josep, thanks so much for having us here today, and I look forward to our discussions.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future