Romanian Government

Thursday, 20 February

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban attended the conference: "Green Deal Romania – Funding, strategy, challenges, solutions”

Address by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban at the conference: "Green Deal Romania – Funding, strategy, challenges, solutions”


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Good afternoon. I will try to be very brief. I believe it is much more important to have a debate in which each of the participants can express his/her views because, through dialogue, we can give appropriate answers to your issues of concern. I will tell you that the issue of the Green Deal emerged unexpectedly and the ambitious objectives established until 2050 by the European Commission surprised many people. Currently, in Brussels, at least at the level of the European Commission, but not only, the Green Deal issue is regarded as a true religion, and any argument you bring into discussion is rejected from the start, and there is basically a full commitment towards the established objectives – neutrality until 2050, and cut by 55 percent of greenhouse emissions until 2030. The Green Deal means very many regulation projects, which are about to be debated in trilogue, and which will need to be carefully studied, and we need to be involved in these debates because the matter is how the money from the Just Transition Fund is shared, about 750 million of 7. 5 billion, i.e. 10 percent of the money is theoretically allocated to Romania, on the currently existing project. This means that Romania is among the most affected countries, ranking third as financial allocation, after Poland with 78 percent of the energy output on coal, Germany with about 880 million, and Romania with 750 million worth financial allocation. Surely we need first to get familiar with this idea that we will need to meet these objectives.

I do not think there are ways to avoid attaining the established goals, it is too much determination at European level to allow delays. As such, we will have to draw up a plan. And that plan must clearly set out all the areas that will be affected: industry, transport, energy, agriculture; I have seen that they are very ambitious also in terms of the agricultural area. We need to see exactly the effects, to know what economic activities will be affected and, especially, how we can remove or, in large part, prevent the effects that the various regulations related to the Green Deal can generate. I asked them a question, I say: on the one hand, you ask us to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, by switching to electric cars, only that switching to electric cars will increase the consumption of electricity, on the other hand, because we will have to close the capacities that produce fossil fuel-based electricity - even though natural gas is still considered a transitional gas, we are allowed to use gas more – in fact, we reduce our energy production capacity. It will be very difficult to sort this problem out, in the conditions in which, for instance, I do not think that they will accept funding of certain projects on Green Deal any longer, it will be difficult to switch to electricity generation on gas at Oltenia Complex, as long as gas is only accepted as transitional fuel, and we do not know so far how green is the nuclear energy, this connected to what president Daraban stated.

You can only produce electricity from wind, sun and water - it is quite complicated and here it is very clear that we need to be involved in all the negotiations so that at least some solutions remain for us to be able to adapt and ensure our necessary energy for consumption because here we have to be very realistic, Romania is not in the centre of Europe, to get energy from the surrounding countries. Romania is on the edge of Europe, we are bordering the Black Sea. Surely, electricity can also be produced from waves or winds, from the sea breeze. This is not excluded either. Otherwise, we do not have large energy producers around us that can help us in situations when we cannot ensure energy for consumption. Other economic branches are also clearly affected. We have production capacities - steel, aluminium, not to mention agriculture because we still can't really estimate Green Deal regulations’ impact on agriculture. It is clear that we should draw up a very serious plan, the plan must not be drawn up only by the government, it is an effort in which all the companies, all those affected, must be involved quite seriously in the negotiation, to lead to regulations that do not create competitive disadvantages.

Obviously, we need to invest more in research, innovation, to find appropriate solutions, that would allow us to preserve competitiveness, even to preserve several production capacities, and anyhow adaptation and moving to an economy that would take into account what it is desired today in Europe. I stop here and I will continue to watch all the debates and addresses.