Friday, 3 June
One of the consequences of Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine has been to precipitate what is shaping to be a real energy crisis, after a dramatic rise in energy prices affecting European citizens across borders over the past few months. While these events are recent, the phenomenon of energy poverty is an old specter for tens of millions of Europeans, who have been struggling to keep their houses properly heated or cool enough, making energy poverty one of the most pressing social issues of our time. Extreme weather phenomena, such as brutal heat weaves, have become an existential risk for people living in many parts of Europe and beyond its borders.
In light of an incoming economic recession caused by the COVID pandemic and by steep energy prices, in light of war in Ukraine, Europe must not steer away from the path of a Green transition, which now more than ever must be socially just, as the highest costs are being once again paid by the most vulnerable people, and which would guarantee strategic independence from foreign fossil fuels-rich autocracies.
The European Union made it a key target in the Clean Energy package of 2019 to tackle energy poverty and is helping Member States, regions and cities with technical expertise on how to invest most efficiently and with the best outcome to reduce energy poverty. Several streams of EU funding are available to support national efforts to tackle energy poverty, in particular through investments in renovations and energy efficiency: the biggest ones being the newly established Recovery Fund and Cohesion Policy.
In this panel we want to discuss the phenomenon of energy poverty and its dramatic impact on people’s lives. We want to find ways for people to get out of energy poverty, which leaves them vulnerable towards the increasing effects of the climate crisis and rising energy prices. How can we Greens fight climate change and energy poverty to strengthen the wellbeing of citizens, especially those that suffer from the social consequences the most and support a socially just transition? How can the EU, especially its 750 billion Euro Recovery and Resilience Fund, address this challenge?
Michael Bloss, Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA Group
Michael is a member of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and a member of the party board of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in his home region, Baden Württemberg. He negotiated the European Climate Law for Greens/EFA and currently acts as shadow rapporteur on the revision of the European Emission Trade System as a member of the committees ITRE and ENVI. Moreover, he is the coordinator of the Climate Core Group within the Greens/EFA Group. In 2021, he negotiated the government coalition agreements both at federal level and in Baden-Württemberg on climate, energy and industry transformation.
Prior to joining the European Parliament, he worked as a consultant for the United Nations Development Group, in the regional parliament of Baden-Württemberg and for Ska Keller in the European Parliament. Michael grew up in Stuttgart and studied International Relations and Globalisation and Development in Dresden and London. He got involved with Grüne Jugend in 2008 where he was active in various roles, before becoming the spokesperson of the Federation o Young European Greens in 2013.
Fausta Roznytė, President of Young Democrats of Lithuania, Board Member.
Fausta is a master‘s student of Diplomacy and International Relations at Vilnius University. Her field of research is globalisation, climate change and their effects on the international community, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. She analyses the correlation between climate change and its’ impact on income
Urszula Sara Zielińska, member of the Polish Parliament, co-chair of Partia Zieloni.
Urszula is a Polish MP. Since January 2022 co-chair of the Polish Green Party (Partia Zieloni). Member of the parliamentary Energy & Treasury Committee and the Committee for Environment, Natural Resources and Forestry. Studied business management in Warsaw. Prior to taking on a role as MP worked in international business in Poland, Germany and the UK. Green energy, climate and the rule of law in Poland are key topics of her parliamentary work and interests. Lives and works in Warsaw,
Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA Group.
Kira is the youngest politician ever elected for the European Parliament. She is working towards a more sustainable, just and social Europe as a Vice President of the Greens/EFA Group. Her political interest lies in the intersection between human rights, gender equality and a social, sustainable economy. Currently, she is a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Vice President of the Subcommittee on Tax Evasion, and the group coordinator in the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.
Vula Tsetsi, European Green Party's Committe member.
Since 2004, Vula Tsetsi has been the Secretary-General of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament. In 2019, she was elected to the Committee of the European Green Party. In her mandate as Committee member, she actively works with Green Member Parties and partners in Southern EU Member States, with the aim of reinforcing the political ecological space in this region.
As an urban and regional planner she has participated in several publications, with a special focus on the green and sustainable development of cities. She is from Greece and has two children.