The EU needs to address the climate crisis through a threefold approach: mobilising funding, engaging citizens and the private sector, and exerting strong political leadership. This was the message conveyed by an EESC own-initiative opinion adopted at the September plenary.

The opinion, drafted by Thomas Kattnig and Lutz Ribbe, argues that to meet increasing demand for electricity and achieve the climate objectives, the EU must invest more in smart and renewable energy systems and storage infrastructure, and that everybody must play their part.

According to the federation of the European electricity industry, Eurelectric, the EU must double investment in the electricity grid to EUR 55 billion per year and increase the budget for building clean generation capacity to EUR 75 billion per year.

"We need massive public investment in order to meet the energy transition and climate goals. This is essential to ensure security of supply, tackle energy poverty, keep prices affordable and create jobs," said Mr Kattnig.

The EESC supports the Commission's intention to improve the design of the electricity market, and is strongly in favour of market assessments to analyse the behaviour of all potential players. "In order to design a well-functioning energy market, it is key for the Commission to assess the advantages and disadvantages of public and private ownership and/or private financing of energy infrastructure," said Mr Ribbe.

To finance infrastructure investment, the EESC recommends skimming the windfall profits of energy companies and applying a "golden rule" to any projects associated with energy independence. (mp)