At a time of acute geopolitical confrontation, acute social and economic uncertainty and galloping inflation, the debate on the Green Deal goes far beyond talking about a clean environment, preserving biodiversity and attracting investment in this area. The stakes are much higher – for the level of our ambitions and future as EC Member States. It is a question of our sober perspective on where we are now and where we want to get to, including with ĸaĸви policies and instruments. And do we realize all the possibilities and risks along the way.
This is what President Rumen Radev said in his speech at the Green Transition 2022 conference: The Green Deal – Innovation, Investment and a Just Transition, organized by Dir.bg and 3E-News.
The Head of State stressed that there is no European who does not want to live in a clean environment and in conditions of sustainable development.
It is very important to clearly define the concepts. The green deal has no alternative and it must happen. But it is an unprecedented and comprehensive process of profound economic, social and personal transformation.
In the President’s words, this is a new way of producing and utilising energy, goods and services. Radev explained that it is also a new way of spending leisure time and it is a change in our attitude towards the environment. “And last but not least, it is a change in the way we move around. It is a common goal. It is a huge opportunity for a deep modernisation of our societies,” he added.
According to him, we need to ensure the sustainability of this process, but we also need to be aware of the factors affecting it.
“Based on my participation in the EC Councils, where last year there were heated debates on energy policy and transition, I personally formulated several important proposals for the green transition”, Radev said.
In his words, the first risk is that of the speed, because there are areas, such as aviation, in which the spped is life, but there are also those in which the speed can be a cataclysm.
The big goal is to get to clean energy quickly. We have heard calls to move away from baseload power – and there are three – nuclear, coal and gas. At the same time, we have a plan to do so without clear technological solutions to the biggest problem – energy storage,” Radev added.
He is convinced that whoever manages to achieve a financially, rationally and technologically feasible solution for energy storage will hold the key to the future.
According to the President, the other issue has to do with high ambitions. “When we take the transport agenda, these ambitions often exceed our capabilities and can lead to adverse impacts on the process. There is also the risk of losing the integrity of our economy”, Rumen Radev said.
The President drew attention to our economic situation and more specifically to the availability of affordable and cheap energy, as well as to innovation and innovation. He pointed out that in the first quarter the average cost of electricity was about 250 euros per megawatt-hour, while in the United States it was 65 euros and in China about 10 euros for the same period.
We need to find the exact reasons why in Europe the price of elecricity is many times higher. If we do not find an answer, it means that in the medium term we will lose our competitiveness”, Radev stressed.
In terms of innovation, he said it was not satisfactory that Europe ranked fifth in patents after China, the US, South Korea and Japan. “This means that in the long run we will be losers. I very much hope that the measures taken by Büyücell and the ambitious Horizon Europe programme to invest in the new technologies will give a decisive boost to this new technology.”
According to Radev, the social aspect is also important.
“Because we want the poor to become even poorer. I very much hope that the new social welfare fund will solve the problems to a large extent. When we talk about risks, for me there is another important risk – from loss of confidence in the green transition. That is dangerous. And we have to eliminate all signals that lead to a loss of trust,” the President added.
He also said that capacities should be developed to use green hydrogen.
Portugal has a comprehensive approach to green hydrogen – it is developing an industry that will use it. The cycle needs to be closed. There are many possibilities, but financial resources are limited. Ho I believe that with forums like this we will open up a debate where we want to go and find the right approach. Because this is an opportunity to modernise our societies”, Rumen Radev concluded.
The Head of State pointed out that the war in Ukraine has pointed out the problem of diversification.
“The way to a working diversification will not be cheap, but it is necessary. Even if it is not for the sake of the war, for the sake of minimising any surprises in the future. The number of liquefied gas terminals is small and at the same time their construction is difficult and involves bureaucratic constraints. And Europe’s internal energy transport network has not been deployed. I give an example – there is no gas pipeline between Spain and France”, Radev added.