Monday

26th Feb 2024

Time for EU energy union, says Polish PM

The European Union must create an energy union to secure its supply and reduce its dependence on Russian gas, Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said.

Tusk's energy blueprint, set out in an article in the Financial Times on Tuesday (22 April), would establish a single European body that would buy gas for the whole 28-nation bloc. This would end a system that currently sees the different countries negotiate their own deal with energy giant Gazprom, the government-backed firm which dominates Russia's gas market.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Tusk: The EU needs an energy union to secure independence from Russian gas (Photo: Wikipedia)

Meanwhile, "solidarity mechanisms" between EU countries would kick into action if countries were threatened with being cut off from gas supplies.

The question of energy independence, which was already one of particular concern to the EU's eastern European countries, many of whom complain that they are overcharged by Gazprom, has become more prominent as a result of the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

Last month, Russia doubled the price of the energy it sells to Kiev, increasing the pressure on the already cash-strapped government in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Baltic country Lithuania is suing Gazprom, arguing that it pays 35 percent more for its gas than Germany.

Gazprom is currently subject to a probe by the European Commission's competition department over its dealings with eight EU countries, including Lithuania, and could face a multi-million euro fine for abusing its position as the dominant force in the gas market.

"Today, at least 10 EU member states depend on a single supplier - Gazprom - for more than half of their consumption," noted Tusk.

However, Tusk's view is not shared by the bloc's energy commissioner, Gunther Oettinger who has stated that gas deals between EU countries and Russia will not be affected even if economic sanctions are imposed on Moscow because of its role in destabilising Ukraine.

"From my many talks with Gazprom, my impression is that our Russian partners will fulfill their contractual obligations and want to supply the gas," Oettinger told a German Sunday newspaper.

"I am against scaling back or even cutting our gas links with Russia in the coming years," he added.

Tusk also calls for EU countries to be allowed to exploit existing supplies of fossil fuels and the so-far untapped resources of shale gas.

Poland has been one of the most enthusiastic countries about shale gas exploration. However, uncertainty about the volume of gas deposits on European soil and public disquiet about the practice of hydraulic fracturing - needed to access the gas - means that Europe has not seen anything approaching the shale gas boom that has transformed the US energy market.

"No nation should be forced to extract minerals but none should be prevented from doing so - as long as it is done in a sustainable way," Tusk said.

Data published by EU statistics office Eurostat's indicates that imported gas accounted for 65.8 percent in 2012 up from 63.4 percent in 2009. Of this, Russian gas accounts for 30 percent, up from 22 percent in 2010.

Most European energy policy making is currently in the hands of national governments.

Stakeholder

What does Poland (really) want from the 2030 package?

Marek Woszczyk, CEO of PGE, Poland's largest utility, and President of the Polish Electricity Association explains why Poland is dragging its feet on the European Union's 2030 climate-energy package.

Opinion

Massive EU gas investment a mistake

Europe's massive investment plan – some €200 billion – in gas-related infrastructure is a huge misstep that does not address the challenge of Europe's energy demands or climate change commitments.

Poland keen on economic post in EU commission

Amid speculation about whether the Polish FM will become the EU's next head of diplomacy, Warsaw is more keen on an economically weightier post in the next EU commission.

Latest News

  1. Angry farmers block Brussels again, urge fix to 'unfair' prices
  2. Luxembourg denies blind spot on Nato security vetting
  3. Record rate-profits sees EU banks give shareholders €120bn
  4. Why the EU silence on why Orban's €10bn was unblocked?
  5. Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line
  6. More farmers, Ukraine aid, Yulia Navalnaya in focus This WEEK
  7. EU rewards Tusk's Poland on rule of law with €137bn
  8. UK-EU relations defrosting ahead of near-certain Labour win

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us