EU moving ahead with bold new Energy Union
- 11 February 2015
LONDON: EU ministers are moving ahead with a bold project to reform Europe’s energy market by creating a new Energy Union.
On April 21, 2014 the European Council president and former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk wrote a letter to the Financial Times pointing out that “excessive dependence on Russian energy makes Europe weak.” To solve this market distortion, he proposed the creation of an energy union.
And last week, in Riga, Latvia, the Energy ministers of the EU met to discuss the preliminary steps of the project that would “reform how Europe produces, transports and consumes energy”.
The Energy Union is focused on diversifying the mix of energy sources currently available for the members. In the European context, renewables will see increasing attention from policymakers. This is good news especially European businesses which are increasingly investing in renewables, as highlighted by The Climate Group and CDP project, RE100.
The ultimate goal of the Commission is to make the EU a leader in renewable energy, to achieve a long-term pathway able to support the economic growth of the member states – while at the same time reducing their energy dependence on non-EU nations.
In particular, the Energy Union will aim to ensure security of supply, build a single internal energy market, raise energy efficiency, decarbonize national economies, and promote research and innovation. All these objectives require political will, clear policies and economic investment.
“With resolute action the competitiveness – security – sustainability triangle can be achieved,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner, in his inaugural speech. He also revealed concrete actions to tackle energy poverty, revealing a ten-point plan for energy security.
The commission will revise the regulation on security of electricity supply, and will draft plans for a new Liquefied Natural Gas strategy. Furthermore, there is progress on the creation of a Mediterranean gas hub and the Southern Gas Corridor. The commission will also look into energy subsidies and how prices are set, with a focus on energy efficiency.
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, further explained the project is “possible, but it has to be on voluntary basis, it has to respect the European competition law, and it must respect our WTO obligations.” He also called for much more transparency on the final agreement, to be finalized on February 25.
The EU Commission will also propose a new “renewable energy package” to reach 27% renewables in EU energy consumption by 2030. Also in the spotlight is investment in research and innovation, which is crucial to achieve such bold goals.
The next Energy Council meeting will be on March 5, and it will mark the first debate on the Energy Union.
Video: Brussels Briefing on Energy: special on Energy Union - courtesy of viEUws
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by Ilario D'Amato