The countries around the Baltic Sea “must set sail, work together and set the course to make our region more sustainable, resilient and secure,” said Baerbock.
Chancellor Olaf Scholtz said Germany remains committed to ending its greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, the earliest of any major industrialized nation. To achieve the goal, his government has announced it will shut down coal-fired power plants reactivated during the war in Ukraine, stop imports of Russian oil and coal this year, and stop using Russian gas within the next two years.
The potential for the Baltic Sea “is enormous,” Baerbock said. “The European Commission estimates that the Baltic Sea could potentially produce more than 90 gigawatts of wind energy. That is more than twice the installed capacity of all German coal-fired power plants.”
“Wind energy from the Baltic Sea will help us to fight the climate crisis. And it’s an investment in our security: it will help make us less dependent on gas from Russia,” said Baerbock.
On July 1, Germany took over the presidency of the Baltic Sea Council for one year. The Regional Cooperation Forum consists of the European Union and 10 member states: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Council suspended Russia from its activities. Moscow later said it had decided to withdraw from the council, saying the organization was becoming an “anti-Russian tool”.
In Copenhagen, Baerbock and Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod signed a plan for closer cooperation between their countries, which includes a plan to “drastically increase offshore wind capacity in the North and Baltic Seas“.
Denmark is holding a meeting on the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm next week to discuss ways to “clear the Baltic Sea region of Russian energy while paving the way for a meaningful green transition.”
Among those expected are the President of the EU Commission, the President of Lithuania, the Prime Ministers of Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Denmark, as well as several energy ministers.
Speaking alongside Kofod, Baerbock said after their meeting it was important for European countries to show solidarity in the coming months amid attempts by Russia to use energy supplies “as a weapon of war” and to split the 27-nation bloc.
Germany is examining how low water levels on its rivers after months of drought and high demand for electricity from neighboring France due to the shutdown of its nuclear power plants will have on the energy markets in the coming months.
Baerbock, a member of the Greens, said she was skeptical of the idea that extending the life of Germany’s three remaining nuclear power plants would help deal with an expected gas shortage, but acknowledged it could alleviate electricity shortages.
“You have to look at everything in the European context,” she said.
Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.
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