20th March 2015

Politics: European Council endorses Energy Union

At the regular European Council held in Brussels on 19 and 20 March, the EU presidents and prime ministers endorsed the Commission´s Energy Union project. It also urged all relevant EU institutions to work on the elements of the strategy and report back to the leaders before the end of this year. The heads of state and government welcomed the holistic approach chosen by the Commission – to focus on Energy Union having in mind the 5 key elements, namely security of supply, integrated energy market, decarbonisation of the economy, energy efficiency and competitiveness. In the conclusions published after the meeting, the leaders called specifically for full and thorough implementation of already existing measures and for acceleration of interconnectors construction. Although the conclusions mention the Commission´s plan to have access to Member States´ gas supply contracts, the rationale being equalizing the conditions for all Member States, and broadly endorses it, it nevertheless explicitly mentions the confidentiality of some of the provisions of such agreements. This indicates a certain unease of some Member States towards this plan. Indeed, some states consider their relations with third-party suppliers, such as the Russian Gazprom, privileged and fear that the Commission´s intrusion in the negotiations could endanger that status. Indeed, the Commission seeks to ensure equal treatment of all Member States by third-party suppliers. The European Council also welcomed the regional initiatives being developed in energy matters inside the EU, in case a certain geographic area has similar problems, such as interconnection between Iberia and continental Europe in terms of electricity, the Baltic States´ access to continental electricity and gas grids and South East and Central European Countries in terms of gas supply.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic