Tuesday

22nd Jan 2019

EU commissioner to begin 'Energy Union' tour

  • Banner for Energy Union in Brussels (Photo: EUobserver)

EU energy commissioner Maros Sefcovic will start visiting EU countries this week to share initial findings of a commission analysis of each country's energy and climate policy.

The planned energy union - billed as the EU's most ambitious project since the 1950s - "cannot be imposed by Brussels," said Sefcovic.

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  • Commissioner Sefcovic: 'The commission made a first analysis for each member state of the strength and weaknesses of their energy system' (Photo: European Commission)

The member states will have the opportunity for rebuttal, something the commissioner said would ensure the EU's new energy governance system is “based on mutual understanding and trust”.

“The commission made a first analysis for each member state of the strength and weaknesses of their energy system, and of the new opportunities the Energy Union can bring”, said Sefcovic, announcing the tour on Monday (18 May).

Energy Union is the name used for the long-term energy and climate strategy, proposed by the commission in February and to beapproved by the EU's members the next month.

“Each country has to do something to improve their energy efficiency performance, to improve the level of interconnections, to improve the cooperation with the [other] member states”, said Sefcovic.

The commission plans to present its findings on how member states are contributing to a more coherent energy policy in the autumn.

Before the report is published, the commission will give countries “the opportunity to add additional elements or fine-tune our data, because what we want is that we are working with precise data and with a common understanding”, noted Sefcovic.

“Do you agree with our analysis? Are all the statistics correct? What is your level of ambition if it comes to Energy Union in your perspective?”, Sefcovic said he would ask member states.

“Based on these answers, we will prepare recommendations on how national energy and climate plans should look like.”

The Dutch will be the first to have a chance to respond to the commission's “country-specific” findings. Sefcovic will visit The Netherlands on Wednesday (20 May).

Sefcovic said he was asked to do the tour by commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. It follows a similar tour by commissioner Jyrki Katainen to gather support for the commission's investment plan.

Sefcovic also announced that the commission will present a package of new initiatives on energy labelling, electricity market design, the retail market, and the EU's emission trading system.

One contentious proposal that came out of the Energy Union strategy, a plan to involve the EU commission in gas contracts with non-EU countries such as Russia, will be presented after the summer.

Brussels wants stronger role in gas deals

The European Commission wants to be more closely involved when its member states negotiate energy contracts, under plans for an energy union unveiled Wednesday.

EU envisages soft touch Energy Union

According to an internal document, the commission is floating monitoring and reporting instruments, but no strict measures to police proposed new rules.

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