6th March 2015

Ministers discuss Energy Union strategy

On 5 March, ministers in charge of energy issues held a meeting of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council. Among the most important points was the Energy Union communication by the Commission, in which the EU executive laid down its ideas for a safe, affordable, competitive and eco-friendly energy. The ministers mostly welcomed the Commission´s proposal, mainly certain specific aspects such as regional approach. However, the discussions showed how the main priorities differ from one member state to another. Some ministers stressed the role of the fully functioning market, others focus on energy security. The importance of issues such as decreasing of dependence on imports, mainly natural gas, was widely shared by all the ministers, but the wording concerning Commission´s role in the negotiations between a member state and a third state on energy issues (the Commission would like a stronger role) was much more careful – signaling possible problems in the future. Also, member states are very keen to preserve their right to determine their respective energy mixes. Some time ago, the Hungarian PM Viktor Orban stated that Hungary will oppose some of the elements of the Energy Union precisely because of issues of national sovereignty.

The ministers discussed also the electricity interconnection goal of the Commission, which is supposed to be at least 10% (at least 10% of intra-state consumption need to be able to flow across borders of the said state). Interconnectors are key to a resilient energy market and this view is shared by all the member states. Also in this context the ministers supported regional approach as one of the ways to proceed. Council debates will serve as input for the March European Council.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic