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UE’s foreign energy: one single voice for Europe

pdf mise en ligne :02 10 2007 ( NEA say… n° 40 )

IMMIGRATION > Protection temporaire en cas d'afflux massif de personnes déplacées

Since the informal Hampton Court meeting of Heads of State and government in 2005, followed by the Green paper on an European Strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure Energy adopted by the Commission in March 2006 (COM (2006)105 final), energy and especially the energy internal market, have increasingly become political priorities on the European Commission’s, Council's and Parliament's agenda.

One of the reasons that has stressed the development of energy security was the controversy on the gas Russia-Ukraine of January 2006 and the successive crisis of the supplies that has hit the United States. This has demonstrated that Energy  is not only a good, but can be used like instrument of political pressure. However the Ue- Russia relations are more balanced geographically, recognizing the importance of enhancing the UE’s energy relations not only with the eastern neighbours but also with the Mediterranean, Middle East, Asian and other partners.

Clearly, ratification by Russia would be a positive signal. The Commission also believes that the principles of the Energy Charter Treaty should be included in the new co-operation agreement with Russia and are not redundant.

Furthermore, electricity and gas are at the heart of the Europe’s well-being (COM(2007) DRAFT), a competitive and efficient electricity and gas market is a pre-condition to tackle climate change. Only with a functioning market is it possible to develop an effectively functioning emissions trading mechanism and a renewable energy industry that will meet the ambitious objective, agreed by the European Council of ensuring that the EU's energy mix is sourced 20% from renewable energy sources by 2020. Consumers will benefit from the competitive energy market in many ways.

The first one is freedom of choice; we have seen in other sectors that a competitive market has created more choice, specialized services, more offer, and in most cases, lower prices.

The 2007 Spring European Council invited the Commission to propose further measures, such as:
• the effective separation of supply and production activities from network operation;
• the further harmonisation of the powers and enhanced independence of the national     energy regulators;
• the establishment of an independent mechanism for cooperation among national regulators;
• the creation of a mechanism for transmission system operators to improve the coordination of networks operation and grid security, cross-border trade and grid operation;
• greater transparency in energy market operations.

And the European Council also underlined the need to strengthen security of supply in a spirit of solidarity between Member States.

Well functioning markets and networks are essential for the competitiveness of the economy and for the well-being of the citizens. The goal of the current proposal is to promote competition in the European energy markets and to promote the proper functioning of these markets.

To achieve the strategic energy objective set out above means transforming Europe into a highly energy efficient and low CO2 energy economy, catalysing a new industrial revolution, accelerating the change to low carbon growth and, over a period of years, dramatically increasing the amount of local, low emission energy that we produce and use. The challenge is to do this in a way that maximises the potential competitiveness gains for Europe, and limits the potential costs.

Existing measures on areas such as renewable electricity, biofuels, energy efficiency and the Internal Energy Market have achieved important results but lack the coherence necessary to bring sustainability, security of supply and competitiveness.

The Commission must be able to verify the validity of National Action Plans and be entitled to reject them where there is insufficient documentation for the development of renewable energy in relation to the national targets and where it is not clearly documented what operators are expected to carry out such developments and from where the financing of the necessary investment is to come.

Therefore, in occasion of the plenary session, is adopted the report on “High Official of Foreign Energy Policy”, on proposal of Foreign Affairs committee Chairman Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (EPP-ED, PL). It recommends diversification and increased energy efficiency to improve the EU's energy security.

The report, adopted by 553 in favour to 103 against with 27 abstentions calls on the Council and Member States to "create a solidarity mechanism"  to deal with crises arising from disruptions of supply, infrastructure damage, or any other emergency. It also proposes appointing, with the approval of the Council and the Commission, a "High Official of Foreign Energy Policy", who would be "responsible for co-ordinating all policies under the scope of the common European foreign policy on energy, thereby contributing to the EU's ability to protect its energy security interests in negotiating with the EU's external partners".

The report prescribes various ways to reduce Europe's dependence on foreign sources of energy. It regards it as "vital for the EU to continue to lead the global fight against climate change" and to promote energy-saving technologies in all external relations. To this end, MEPs emphasised the need to create a "common European foreign policy on energy, covering security of supply, transit and investment related to energy security, and the promotion of energy efficiency and energy savings" .

Members also called on the Commission and the Member States to pursue "active policies at the highest political level so as to enable the Community to diversify its natural gas sources" and noted that in all priority initiatives aimed at diversification, "special priority should be given to environmentally safe and renewable energy sources".

On the subject of Russia, in particular, MEPs said that "the energy partnership between the EU and Russia can only be based on the non-discrimination and fair treatment principle and on equal market access conditions".  Finally, the report says that "in addition to the need for Russia to ratify the Charter, the EU should negotiate a formal framework document on energy relations with Russia in the context of the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement".

Moreover, it is emphasized good job of the Intelligent Energy Europe. It is the EU's tool for funding action to improve these conditions and move us towards a more energy intelligent Europe, its objective is to contribute to secure, sustainable and competitively priced energy for Europe, by providing for action:
• to foster energy efficiency and the rational use of energy resources;
• to promote new and renewable energy sources and to support energy diversification;
• to promote energy efficiency and the use of new and renewable energy sources in transport.

From 2007, Intelligent Energy – Europe is included in the overall Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) 7 in order to contribute to achieving the objectives of EU energy policy and to implementing the Lisbon Agenda. The Programme is managed by the Intelligent Energy Executive Agency under powers delegated by the European Commission.

Therefore, the Parliament demands to bolster a common UE’s foreign energy, because it is alone acting collectively that Europe can hope of dealing with the main suppliers on a parity foot.

The 27 states must replace theirs put into effect them preference for the energetic unilateralism with one new common politics of energetic solidarity.


Università degli Studi di Napoli "L’Orientale"


► Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.
► "Towards a common European foreign policy on energy", European Parliament Report, 11 September 2007.
► Andris Piebalgs, Energy Commissioner, Better Choice, Service and Prices in the New European Energy Market, Speech at the EU Energy Law Conference, Brussels, 19 September 2007. 

Energising Europe: A real market with secure supply
► SCADPLUS Summary of Legislation FR/EN