On 25 February, Commission Vice-President in charge of Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič presented the vision of the EC for a complex energy strategy. The European economy is power hungry and inefficiencies that remain present despite some action in the past provide for huge savings opportunities. Often cited problems of the EU energy market include insufficient diversification of sources, insufficient interconnectors between individual states, inefficient buildings, high energy costs and so forth. The energy union plan tackles all of these and other problems as a complex. The aim is to construct an integrated, connected, resilient and forward-looking energy union. The free flow of energy sources between member states should become a “fifth freedom”, the member states should show solidarity in case of any disruptions of energy supply, energy efficiency will receive additional attention as it is to be regarded as an energy source in its own right and research of new ways to provide, store, transport and effectively use energy – these are but some key points of the project. Of course, the climate change policy is part of the larger picture as well.
What has received particular attention is the plan to coordinate energy sources, especially gas, trade deals with third countries. The Commission´s idea is that it would be informed about and included in such negotiations. The aim is to provide synergy and exercise leverage the Union possesses if it acts in concert, as opposed to individual negotiations by member states. This point is controversial as some countries see it as sovereignty loss. Also, it is certain that some countries have the feeling that they can negotiate better terms on their own. As Mr Šefčovič stated, though, the current geopolitical situation changes the views somehow.
To pursue its goals, the Commission intends to use legislative and non-legislative action, promote investment through various instruments and thoroughly enforce the rules that are already in place, but tend to be implemented only partially, such as the third energy package. Along with the Energy Union communication itself (Energy Union: secure, sustainable, competitive, affordable energy for every European), the Commission adopted also a communication on interconnectors and on the Paris climate talks later this year.
20th December 2021
13th January 2022