Executive Director meets EU Council President and senior leaders from European institutions in Brussels

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European Council President Charles Michel greeting IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol in Brussels.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol met with leaders from across major EU institutions this week during a series of high-level engagements in Brussels to discuss the global energy crisis and the opportunities and challenges facing Europe as it seeks to strengthen its energy security and advance its clean energy transition.  

In a bilateral meeting with European Council President Charles Michel today, Dr Birol outlined measures to prepare Europe for next winter and mitigate the risks of any resurgence in the energy crisis later this year. He highlighted the EU’s progress in reducing its reliance on Russian natural gas over the last 12 months, showing how effective and timely policy responses are essential in moments of crisis. This fed into a wider conversation about reinforcing Europe’s industrial competitiveness as other countries and regions are stepping up efforts to attract greater investment in clean energy technology manufacturing.

Dr Birol also met with European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans today where they discussed the European Green Deal and other key EU energy and climate initiatives in the context of the current economic and geopolitical turbulence. They also talked about preparations for the COP28 Climate Change Conference in Abu Dhabi in November.

At the invitation of the European Parliament, Dr Birol addressed MEPs on the biggest challenges facing Europe in the energy world. He spoke at a meeting of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee alongside Cristian Bușoi, the Chair of the Committee, and European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, exchanging views with parliamentarians and then taking questions from journalists at a press conference. Dr Birol warned against complacency even though gas prices have eased somewhat from the record highs they reached last year. He also highlighted Europe’s need for a new industrial masterplan as the race for clean energy leadership heats up.

Earlier in the day, Commissioner Simson and Dr Birol had a bilateral meeting to discuss the situation and outlook in European and global energy markets, as well as the ongoing joint work between the Commission and the IEA.

A day earlier, Dr Birol delivered a keynote speech at the start of the SolarPower Europe Summit in Brussels, which brought together senior representatives from government and industry. Speaking on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Dr Birol said that solar’s continued impressive growth had made it the “Queen of Global Electricity Markets”.