Friday, June 04, 2010

Energy: "Citizens may not understand geopolitics, but they understand when the heating is turned off"

Strengthened cooperation in energy networks, an EU energy research fund and a common gas purchasing group. Three concrete first steps towards a European Energy Community presented by Parliament's President Jerzy Buzek in the Energy Committee on Tuesday 1 June, anticipating a two day joint parliamentary meeting next week. "Citizens may not understand geopolitics, but they understand when the heating is turned off" Mr. Buzek said.

The European Energy Community was launched on 5 May by Mr. Buzek himself and Commission ex-president Jacques Delors.

It builds on a report from Mr. Delors' think tank "Notre Europe", making the case for a "real" European Energy Community using integrated networks, corrected by price stabilization measures and complemented by innovation policies.

This issue being close to Mr. Buzek's heart, the President anticipated the meeting with a Q&A in the Energy committee.

Mr Buzek said "60 years ago, the first European energy community was founded. For our grandparents it was coal and steel. Now, it is necessary to move forward with a wider perspective."

Already the three first steps would bring great advantages according to Mr Buzek. He said that the European Union could (in energy terms) become an economy of scale, possibly making it "more economically competitive than China".

He said that the Union could be "A powerful trading bloc in common negotiations for oil and gas, reducing overall prices".

He went on to say "instead of 27 separate bilateral negotiations for oil and gas we would have an efficient way to negotiate supply contracts, repartition of delivered gas between MS and exploitation of transport and stocking infrastructures."

Lithuanian Socialist Zigmantas Balčytis told the meeting that "we need a coordinated energy policy. But we also need solidarity. I doubt we can achieve this if we have Europe moving at two different speeds at the same time."

Austrian MEP Paul Rübig (EPP) suggested that "the returns from the CO2 auctions could be used for research to make sure the use and production of fossil fuel is safe and efficient".

British MEP Giles Chichester (ECR) told fellow MEPs "we need to give countries more time to fully implement the 2nd and 3rd energy package. If we proceed on this, we risk stalling the process rather than speeding it up."

French Green MEP Yannick Jadot said "you take a very broad view of energy research. We are already spending a lot on research for renewable energy. Now you are talking about fossil fuel efficiency. Shouldn't we try to focus?"

Titled "Towards a European Energy Community for the 21st century?", next week's joint meeting is co-chaired by Mr. Buzek, José Bono, speaker of the Spanish Congress of Deputies, and Javier Rojo, speaker of the Spanish Senate.

Source: European Parliament

See also Sydney Irresistible and Mike Hitchen Unleashed
Putting principles before profits