Securing Europe’s sovereignty: How to shape our energy, climate, and trade policies in light of the current geostrategic shifts?

24.05.2023 How can Europe ensure its resilience despite growing global challenges?

©:picture alliance | CHROMORANGE | Christian Ohde

Date: 24 May 2023, 09.00 - 17.00 CEST
Venue: Hotel NH Brussels EU Berlaymont, Bd Charlemagne 11/19, 1000 Brussels
Meeting room: De Gasperi I + II + III
Language: English

Please note that this event will take place in person and will also be streamed. The link will be made available to registered participants.

Without a doubt - the tasks ahead for Europe are not the easiest ones. Gaining energy sovereignty and thus ensuring security and prosperity; dynamizing the European Green Deal to maintain an innovative and competitive economy, and thus staying a relevant global player, being able to lead the change and set high international social, labour, and environmental standards. And as if all this were not challenging enough, Europe must also implement these goals in a rapidly changing global order. Old convictions no longer apply and international alliances have to be forged between value-based claims and realpolitik requirements. The individual levels are closely intertwined, and some goals are in tension with each other - for the energy turnaround, we need considerable quantities of raw materials, which will not only be secured in friendly democracies and are by far not yet available through our own circular economy approach. The shift of value chains back to Europe and the immediate neighborhood must take economic principles into account while ensuring our sovereignty to avoid painful dependency relationships. And we must offer international trade and economic partners more equal relations than our often authoritarian counterparts. How can this balancing act best to be ensured in difficult times?


09:00 - 09:30 – Coffee and snacks

09:30 Welcome and introduction remarks by Claudia Detsch, Director FES JustClimate

09:45 Opening keynote speech by Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission (video message)

10:00 – 10:45 Interview with Jacopo Maria Pepe on the building blocks of a resilient energy security strategy

Jacopo Maria Pepe is an Associate at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and the author of the study “Geopolitics and energy security in Europe: how do we move forward?” by FES Just Climate

Interviewer: Sidonie Wetzig,Policy Officer for Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence at the FES EU Office

10:45 – 12:15 I Panel: Past the point of no return: Building Europe’s energy security

The EU’s future energy security strategy has to strike a balance between the ambition to increase supply resilience as well as energy sovereignty and the reality of ongoing dependencies. The EU must therefore navigate the new fierce systemic competition on technologies, standards, critical minerals as well as resilient supply chains. Despite the challenges, it must avoid becoming hostage to the growing confrontation between the USA and China and instead remain a strong independent player on the international stage. So, how to shape a functional, comprehensive, and resilient European Energy Union in such highly dynamic times?


Norbert Schultes, Head of the Department for Economic Affairs at the Permanent Representation of Germany to the EU 

Milan Elkerbout, Research Fellow and Head of the Climate Policy Programme at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Laury Haytayan, Middle East and North Africa Director at the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)

Maria Pastukhova, Senior Policy Advisor for Energy Diplomacy, E3G

Moderator: Reghina Dimitrisina, Policy Advisor at FES JustClimate


12:15 – 13:00 Lunch


13:00 – 14:30 II Panel: Navigating together the complexities of critical raw materials and supply chain policies   

Critical raw materials (CRM) are key to maintaining Europe’s economic and environmental ambitions. The latest numbers show that China currently produces 86% of the world’s rare earth supply, while the USA, Japan, and South Korea are all deploying sizable support and investments to lessen their dependence on the extraction, processing and recycling of CRM. A global race for the supply and recycling of CRM is ongoing. In this sense, the EU has articulated the “European Critical Raw Materials Act”. How do we effectively secure supply chains on a regional level? How do we build new partnerships with alternative suppliers and on which terms? What would be the role of European industries? And how can we shape our way towards more reliance on the recycling process of CRM?  


Leopoldo Rubinacci, Deputy Director General, DG TRADE, European Commission

Claude Chanson, General Manager at RECHARGE industry association

Diego Marin, Policy Officer for Raw Materials and Resource Justice at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB)

Farkhod Aminjonov, Expert on Energy Security focusing on the Central Asia region; Assistant Professor at National Defence College, UAE (online participation)

Moderator: Stephan Thalhofer, Policy Advisor at FES JustClimate


14:30 – 15:00 Coffee break


15:00 – 16:30 III Panel: Trade, climate, and social standards at a time of geopolitical instability

Climate and environmental sustainability, social standards, and trade relations are increasingly intertwined. What is the impact of trade policies on climate? And inversely, how can climate change and energy transition frameworks modify trade patterns? What are the short-term and long-term consequences? How can policymakers optimally combine trade and climate policies, while safeguarding progressive social standards?


Dirk Bergrath, Head of EU Liaison Office of IG Metall

Dominic Boucsein, Head of International Trade Policy at Eurochambers  

William Vella Nozaki, Chief Advisor, Presidency of the Economic and Social Development Bank BNDES, Brazil

Faten Aggad, Senior Advisor, Climate Diplomacy and Geopolitics at the African Climate Foundation (online participation)

Moderator: Claudia Detsch, Director at FES JustClimate

16:30 Closing remarks by Claudia Detsch, Director FES JustClimate

16:45 Reception

                                                                                          -end of Conference-

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Reghina.Dimitrisina(at) and about the logistics, please contact Silke.Lang(at)


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