At the start of 2015, the European Commission shared some sobering statistics. As the world’s largest energy importer, the EU imports 53% of its energy. Ninety-four percent of its transport relies on oil, of which 90% is imported.
Six Member States depend on a single external supplier for 100% of their gas imports. More encouragingly, EU renewable energy companies employ over 1 million people. And European businesses hold 40% of all patents for renewable technologies.
Against this backdrop, the Commission unveiled plans for an “Energy Union” – with a climate policy at its heart – to give European citizens and organisations “secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy”. The vision was Member States cooperating to deliver energy to Europeans, and speaking with one voice to the world. The Commission acknowledged achieving this would require a fundamental transformation of the continent’s energy system.
The EURACTIV Institute gathered policy influencers to debate how much progress has been made this first year.
This event also unveiled the #EurActory40Energy “long list” of policy experts with influence on EU Energy Union policy. The list itself will undoubtedly generate debate of its own for months to come.