In a recent opinion, the EESC has backed the European Commission's REPowerEU Plan to wean the EU off Russian gas and oil, but has pointed out that many of the problems now being addressed as a matter of urgency could have been avoided or curbed by reducing dependency on energy imports a long time ago and completing the energy market, as urged by the EESC for years.

In the opinion adopted at the September plenary session and drafted by Stefan Back, Thomas Kattnig and Lutz Ribbe, the Committee stressed that the combined economic and social effects of the current crisis will put the EU's democratic system under strain unless adequate solutions are found. Immediate measures must be implemented to ensure security of supply at a cost that is "as affordable as possible" for both consumers and industry, which are affected by the current price crisis, lest social unrest starts to arise.

The EESC said that the REPowerEU Plan is a step in the right direction but warned that these emergency measures must not lead to new dependencies and should not harm the efforts to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible.

The Commission should develop a geopolitical energy import strategy which takes into account urgent energy and climate issues, before concluding partnerships with non-democratic or politically unstable countries.

According to the Committee, the urgent need to secure supplies requires flexibility regarding the temporary use of fossil and low emission fuels. (mp)