Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 119

European Energy Union, illustrating the need to accomplish each of the
five objectives set down in the Commission’s communication to the
Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, amongst
others. Šefcˇ ovicˇ began by focusing on the security of the energy supply
and the need for cohesion amongst EU member states.
“We are the biggest energy importer in the world, importing more than
€1bn per day, 3.2% of our GDP. Every year, we import more than €300bn
of crude oil and oil products alone, of which one-third is from Russia. For
electricity, three EU member states, including this country, Latvia, are
dependent on one external operator for the operation of their electricity
network. 27% of the gas we consume in the EU is imported from Russia,
and some of our EU member states pay a high price for this – also literally.
“That’s why I always stress the importance of solidarity. Some of our EU
member states are more vulnerable than others, but in the end, energy
security of supply concerns every EU country. We need an Energy Union
with a solidarity clause.
“There are ways to solve it – through more energy efficiency, for instance.
If we increase Europe’s energy efficiency by 1%, our gas imports will fall
by an additional 2.6%. Or through diversifying our supply routes and
sources. Or through creating real transparency in long term gas
contracts, an issue to which I attach particular importance.”
Single Market
Šefcˇ ovicˇ then spoke about the need to develop an EU market for energy
to the benefit of all EU member states. To realise this aim, national
barriers would need to be removed, and the vice-president acknowledged
the potential difficulties in taking such action. Šefcˇovicˇalso drew attention
to the need for regional energy co-operation.
“Security of supply is, of course, closely linked to our second dimension:
to build a single internal energy market in which energy flows freely and
in which prices do what they should do – give the right market signals.
European, and often it’s not. Just look at the top
ten solar companies – none are European.
“It is about building a sustainable future for the
next generation. That’s what should be in all our
minds when we talk about the Energy Union.”
Šefcˇ ovicˇ then detailed the need for immediate
action to realise this vision, alluding to the
significant policy making resources now in place
at the Commission and other EU institutions.
“We should do more than just talk about it; we
should also act on it. The time to act is now. We
have a European Commission and a
Commission President committed to deliver. We
have a European Parliament … that is
dedicated to work on it. We have a European
Council President … for whom Energy Union
is a top priority. In addition, we have a
geopolitical context – however unfortunate in
itself – in which not doing anything is simply
not an option.”
Action now
Šefcˇ ovicˇ then set out the background for why
an Energy Union is needed in Europe. He
recognised current circumstances, in particular
lower oil prices, as possibly indicating a stable
energy environment but said that the current
environment is the ideal situation to develop
and realise the new policy framework.
“Some would say, ‘Do we still need an Energy
Union now that the oil prices are about 50%
lower than six months ago?’. Of course we do.
We should use the current context, the present
breathing space that is a result of lower oil and
gas prices, as a golden opportunity to reset our
energy policy in the right direction and to take
the necessary investments now. It is a golden
opportunity to encourage EU member states to
reduce costly public financial support to fossil
fuels, invest in renewables and low carbon
technologies, and end our dependence on
external sources of oil and gas.
“Whether we represent industry, NGOs,
governments, international institutions or just
ourselves, we all have an interest in getting
this right.”
Solidarity supply
Speaking to delegates, the vice-president then
detailed the key components of the new
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
I S S U E S I X
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S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y
The EU is particularly
dependent on crude oil
from Russia, as
Šefcˇovicˇ outlined
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