The European Parliament yesterday (3 February) endorsed a comprehensive blueprint for the bloc’s future energy policy, including more ambitious targets on climate change and renewable energies in proposals due to be submitted to EU leaders next month.
MEPs voted 406 in favour and 168 against (87 abstentions) in favour of a report drawn up by Anne Laperrouze (ALDE, France) on the Second Strategic Energy Review, which was agreed upon last month by the Parliament’s committee on industry, research and energy (EURACTIV 22/01/09).
The EU’s future energy policy will be discussed by EU leaders in the 19-20 March European Council.
In the report, the Parliament urges the Czech EU Presidency and the European Commission to present the summit with a “new ambitious and far-sighted diversification plan”. It called for the extension of the EU’s supply routes and sources to the Caspian region when “political conditions permit,” and mentioned the Nabucco, Turkey-Greece-Italy and South Stream pipelines as alternatives to Russian gas in the aftermath of the gas supply crisis between Russia and Ukraine.
Drawing lessons from the conflict, the bloc’s lawmakers called on the Commission to revisit the 2004 Security of Gas Supply Directive to include “emergency action plans”, both at EU and national level. They also stressed the need to invest in a single European gas grid, most urgently to connect the Baltic States to the Western European network.
To avoid future disruptions, the MEPs suggested adding an “energy security clause” to cooperation agreements with transit and producer countries to ensure that commercial disputes do not lead to supply disruptions. A trilateral agreement between the EU, Russia and Ukraine was deemed necessary to secure gas supply in the future.
In the long run, MEPs said the bloc should set ambitious climate goals for 2050, namely a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80%, improve energy efficiency by 35%, and increase the share of renewables in the EU’s energy mix to 60%.
While energy efficiency was deemed to be the biggest contributor to safeguarding the Union’s energy needs, the Parliament stated that nuclear should play an important part in the future energy mix, rejecting by a large majority an amendment that would have obliged member states to devise a phase-out plan.