DAVOS, Switzerland — The European Union’s top official said the 27-nation bloc should avoid becoming dependent to untrustworthy countries, like it did with fossil fuels from Russia, as it moves toward a greener economy with the need to find crucial raw materials.
Speaking Tuesday at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Davos, European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the “economies of the future” will no longer rely on oil and coal.
She says the green and digital transitions will increase the need for materials like lithium and silicon metal required for batteries, chips, electric vehicles or wind turbines.
The head of the EU’s executive arm says “we rely on a handful of producers in the world. So, we must avoid falling into the same trap as with oil and gas.”
Von der Leyen said the EU has secured materials partnerships with countries like Canada.
The head of the European Union’s executive arm says Russia’s war in Ukraine should end with a “strategic failure” for the invading country as she pledged Tuesday that the bloc will continue to invest massively in support of the war-torn nation.
In addition to the economic sanctions imposed on Russia and the military aid provided to Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the 27-nation EU has proposed over 10 billion euros in macro-financial assistance, the largest package ever offered to a third country.
She said the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering that the EU is “mobilizing our full economic power” and “we will, hand in hand, help Ukraine rise from the ashes.”
Von der Leyen added that reconstruction efforts also should aim to modernize Ukraine’s administration. It will be required if the country wants to join the 27-nation bloc in the future.
She says the reforms should “firmly establish the rule of law and the independence of (Ukraine’s) judiciary” and help tackle corruption.
The World Economic Forum’s annual gathering is resuming for a second day, with business leaders, government officials, representatives from global institutions and journalists gearing up for more panel talks and networking at the exclusive meeting in the Swiss Alps.
Tuesday’s agenda in Davos is packed with sessions on one of the meeting’s key themes — climate change. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is due to make an appearance.
There also will be addresses by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Meanwhile, outside the conference venue, a Ukrainian activist was planning a street performance to urge foreign energy companies to stop doing business with Russia.
Later, billionaire financier George Soros is hosting a dinner for media — a non-official forum event but a fixture outside the Davos meeting.
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