Sunday

26th May 2019

Experts to lock horns over EU energy market reform

  • Brussels tabled its energy reform proposals last month (Photo: wikipedia)

Brussels and Moscow have agreed to set up a group of experts tailored to discuss the proposed reform of the EU energy market, including a highly-controversial set of restrictive measures on foreign energy bidders known as the 'Gazprom clause'.

"We are interested in active consultations with our European colleagues on new energy initiatives", Russian energy minister Viktor Khristenko said after talks with EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs in Brussels on Tuesday (16 October).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"We agree on one objective; that we want to ensure security of supply and predictability, which will allow for sustainable development", Mr Khristenko added.

Commissioner Piebalgs has welcomed Moscow's "pragmatic approach" and its promise to adopt a political position only after the consultation takes place and all controversial issues are clarified.

Brussels tabled its far-reaching reform of the union's energy sector in September, prompting some negative reactions in several EU capitals as well as in Russia.

Under the proposed set of rules for the market in electricity and natural gas, production and transmission channels need to be separated in energy companies; foreign bidders should be prevented from expanding into the 27-nation energy market without limit; and third countries should provide the EU with the same access to their markets.

Asked about the principle of reciprocity, Mr Khristenko questioned the proposal in diplomatic fashion.

"We have the opportunity to participate in the development of various sectors of energy in Europe by means of joint projects with partners in Germany, Italy and France - wherever we've got this mutual level of understanding among partners", Russia's minister said.

"We hope new initiatives, which are being drawn up by the European Commission, will not in any way represent an obstacle to these aims", he added.

According to Mr Khristenko's estimates, European energy companies invest roughly 55 million dollars in Russia, while Russian firms invest seven to eight billion dollars in the 27-nation bloc.

However, commissioner Piebalgs has underlined not only Russia's role in the EU energy market, but also the need to look for new suppliers.

"With all due respect to Russian supplies – it represents 25 percent of our consumption - so that means we nevertheless need other suppliers", Mr Piebalgs said, referring to energy security as well as to the need for liquidity in the EU market.

However, he added "it does not in any way hamper the EU's relations with Russia as the biggest and most reliable supplier".

Belgium votes in hybrid EU-national election

Belgians will be electing MPs to six parliaments, on top of the European Parliament, with Greens expected to fare well at both the federal and regional levels.

EUobserved

Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'

The victory of the Dutch EU commissioner is news across the EU, yet the Netherlands is not allowed to publish the official result until Sunday evening.

News in Brief

  1. Former EU climate chief cheered by 40,000 activists in Denmark
  2. UK's May announces June 7 resignation date
  3. Ireland votes for EU election and divorce referendum
  4. Report: May to announce resignation plan on Friday
  5. Leading politicians: time for EU to have female leaders
  6. Poll: Finland's Green party to surge in EU elections
  7. High demand for postal voting in Denmark
  8. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations

Key details on how Europeans will vote

It's one of the biggest democratic exercises in the world with over 400 million eligible voters. National rules apply, and national parties run, but the stakes are at European level.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Thunberg: We can still fix climate, but must start today
  2. Turnout up in Slovakia, with pro-EU liberals scoring high
  3. Belgium votes in hybrid EU-national election
  4. Irish greens take Dublin in second EU exit poll
  5. EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK
  6. Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'
  7. EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'
  8. Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us