Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 118

of the European Parliament and members of
national parliaments.
“Madam Minister, you and your team
managed to convene a fine group of people
who came to Riga today to share their very
best ideas with us, so I would very much like
to thank you for hosting this event, which is
the kick-off of what many in Brussels already
now call ‘the Riga process’.”
Citizen focused
The vice-president then outlined how the new
Energy Union would place citizens at the centre
of its work, drawing attention to a meeting of
European commissioners just prior to the event
in the Latvian capital. He said that citizens
would reap the greatest benefits from the new
plan and described some of the visionary goals.
“Two days ago, we had a very useful orientation
debate on the Energy Union in the College of
the Commission. It was the first time that all
commissioners together had an in-depth
discussion on the issue. And I can tell you that
there was very broad agreement on the main
features of the future Energy Union, an Energy
Union that puts citizens at its core, as many
commissioners put it.
“Because the Energy Union is about ensuring
that European consumers can heat their houses
without the fear of prices skyrocketing or the
supply running out because of geopolitical
instabilities around the world. Many cannot:
10% of EU households are energy-poor.
“It is about ensuring that our businesses can
buy their energy at competitive prices and
continue to be a driver for jobs and growth, and
many cannot.
“It is about ensuring that the leading cutting-
edge research in renewable energy is
cornerstone of Jean-Claude Juncker’s Commission Presidency,
the creation and delivery of a European Energy Union “will
ensure secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy for
citizens and businesses”, according to the European Commission. The
importance that the Commission President is placing on the creation of
the Energy Union is illustrated by the creation of a vice-president
specifically tasked with realising this goal, who additionally heads the
Energy Union Project Team, as well as a European Commissioner for
Climate Action and Energy.
In February, the European Commission Vice-President with responsibility
for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefcˇ ovicˇ, travelled to the Latvian capital of
Riga to open a conference specifically focusing on this prominent
Commission policy. Šefcˇ ovicˇ began by saying he was taken aback by
the diversity of the attendees, but also acknowledged the importance of
including players from across the continent in order to realise the Energy
Union goal.
“This morning I took a very close look at the list of participants and I was
struck by its diversity. In this room, we have representatives of EU
member states and representatives of Europe’s neighbours, and rightly
so, because the Energy Union does not stop at our borders.
“We have CEOs and NGOs. We have representatives of trade unions
and consumer organisations. We have think tanks and energy
associations. We have professors and prosumers. We have members
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y
Energising union
carries the address of Commission Vice-President
Maroš Šefcˇovicˇ,
detailed the backdrop and core components of the Energy Union, a major EU
policy initiative, at a special conference in Latvia
Maroš Šefcˇovicˇ sets the
backdrop to the Energy
Union at a special
conference in the
Latvian capital of Riga
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