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Energy union - United by energy and climate concerns

Energy 10-11-2015 - 16:44 / Updated: 20-09-2016 - 17:16

An energy union should facilitate transporting energy between member states and make Europe less dependent on fossil fuels, most of which are now imported. The plans announced by the European Commission in February 2015 could result in reduced energy bills, less pollution and better resilience to supply disruptions. In the coming years, MEPs are set to discuss and vote on concrete proposals to make this a reality. (Read more: Europe charged up for energy union)

The Energy Union must provide EU citizens with secure, sustainable and affordable energy, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution voted on Tuesday. Building it will demand concerted efforts by EU countries to reduce their dependence on energy imports, by integrating their energy markets, improving security of supply, making the best use of existing and renewable sources, and moderating demand, they add. (Read more: Energy Union: integrate markets and link up to buy supplies, urge MEPs)

The EU imports more than half of the energy it consumes and that can make it vulnerable to external energy suppliers such as Russia. To improve the situation, the European Commission presented the Energy Union plan to reduce this dependence, as well as to create a single European energy market. Read on to find out the key facts and figures about the EU’s energy imports and how it varies from country to country. (Read more: The EU's energy dependence: facts and figures)

The EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) was set up to reduce gas emissions and fight climate change, but it is not working as efficiently as it could be. MEPs discuss on 7 July an informal deal with member states to reform the scheme and will then vote on it the following day. The legislation would tackle the imbalances of supply and demand of emission allowances, which is holding back investment in green technologies. Read on to find out what the reform is all about. (Read more: ETS reform: everything you need to know in a nutshell)

Fully integrating the EU electricity market could cut bills by at least €2 per MWh, and thus save users up to €40 billion a year by 2030, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution voted on Tuesday. But to achieve this, EU countries need to invest €150 billion to interconnect their national grids, they add. (Read more: Electricity: MEPs urge all EU countries to interconnect their national grids)

Energy issues have dominated the EU's political agenda for a long time. When Jean-Claude Juncker took over as president of the European Commission, one of his priorities was creating an energy union. Today this union will be debated with Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič. Ahead of the debate we spoke to former EP President Jerzy Buzek, a Polish member of the EPP group who is now the chair of the EP's energy committee. about the energy union and the role Parliament should play. (Read more: Buzek: "Energy union can help to boost economic growth and jobs")

The EU is at constant risk of energy supply disruption. Too much energy is wasted and 10% of households in the Union cannot afford proper heating, the Commission vice-president for energy union told Parliament's energy and environment committees this week. Maroš Šefčovič was presenting his vision for an energy union to tackle these and other challenges, and also listened to the priorities and concerns of MEPs. An inter-parliamentary seminar on energy security will be held in Turkey next month. (Read more: United by energy concerns)

Securing energy supplies at affordable prices, improving energy efficiency and reducing harmful emissions will be high on the agenda of the European Parliament for the coming months and years. These issues will also be discussed at the Council summit in Ypres and Brussels on 26-27 June during a week dedicated to sustainable energy and marked by hundreds of events throughout Europe. (Read more: Powering up: the energy challenges facing Europe)

REF. : 20150316TST34725
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