With its upcoming presidency of the EU Council, Germany has the opportunity to set European climate policy on a new path. The complete transformation of our energy systems with the aim of greenhouse gas neutrality by the middle of the century is an important and appropriate project involving our entire society. While it is easy to state the target, it is difficult to set out the best way of achieving it. Science has the task of using analysis and advice to contribute to this project in a way that widely considers the latest knowledge possessed by all relevant scientific disciplines. With this in mind, the present ad hoc statement by the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities aims to provide the German government, in light of its upcoming presidency of the EU Council, with a compact series of recommendations for giving the desired European energy transition the momentum it requires, not least amidst the challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic.