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28/07/2016

The powers of the Energy Union

Energy

The powers of the Energy Union

Joseph Daul and Jacek Saryusz-Wolski

[EPP]

An integrated energy market will offer European citizens freedom, security and growth. Solidarity among Europeans will be vital to the success of this project, write Joseph Daul and Jacek Saryusz-Wolski.

Joseph Daul is the President of the European People’s Party (EPP), Jacek Saryusz-Wolski is EPP Vice President, MEP and Co-Chair of the EPP Energy Ministerial Meetings. This op-ed is based on the EPP leaders declaration signed during the EPP Summit.

The Energy Union will be a driving force for freedom, security and growth in Europe. It paves the way for an integrated energy market that will benefit European citizens and businesses. And, this project will reinforce the leading role of the European Union on the international stage and will contribute to a more stable and prosperous neighbourhood on the doorstep of the EU.

We are witnessing the creation of the Energy Union at a particularly challenging time. The grave crisis in Ukraine and its impact on our relations with the Russian Federation have significantly affected the EU’s political agenda. These events will also clearly influence the new approach of the European Neighbourhood Policy to be launched by the European Commission in November. Only if we act in unity, can the European Union stand firm against these kinds of geopolitical manipulation.

We need to seize this opportunity to pursue new strategic energy partnerships and markets. If we do so, we can reduce our dependence on a single, monopolistic supplier and at the same time strengthen our geopolitical position. We need to diversify by investing more in the development of a Southern Gas Corridor and by boosting our strategic energy partnership with the United States, as well as giving more priority to our Mediterranean Energy Partnership and Energy Community.?

The Energy Union is not a project made in Brussels for Brussels. The Energy Union means increased competitiveness for European industry and lower energy prices for consumers.

Our priority will be to make sure that Europeans become “prosumers” in order for them to choose what types of energy they consume and thus reduce the cost to their households. Buildings and transportation must become more energy efficient. We also want to foster the use of sustainable, low-carbon technologies, enhance the digital economy and boost the use of indigenous energy sources, including renewables, in each Member State’s energy mix.

This will not happen in one day. That is why we are also calling for a more stable and competitive legal environment in Europe, including transparency for all energy supply contracts. This will attract investors, allowing us to modernise our infrastructure and create more growth and jobs in Europe. We also need to stimulate innovation and research, and a part of this is our commitment to investing in a sustainable energy industry. Not only for today, but also for tomorrow.

Whether from Paris to Warsaw, Berlin, Madrid or Sofia, regional cooperation will be the driving force for change. Only by implementing a bottom-up approach based on cooperation among the EU Member States we will be able to achieve a fully integrated, efficient and productive energy market.

This initiative will strengthen Europe by diversifying and securing our energy supply sources. An integrated energy market will offer European citizens freedom, security and growth. Solidarity among Europeans will be vital to the success of this project. Let’s work together to build an Energy Union that will boost prosperity for the people of Europe and enhance the position of the EU in our neighbourhood and around the world.?