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Procedure : 2011/0238(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0264/2012

Texts tabled :

A7-0264/2012

Debates :

PV 12/09/2012 - 14
CRE 12/09/2012 - 14

Votes :

PV 13/09/2012 - 11.7
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Debates
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

14. Intergovernmental agreements between Member States and third countries in the field of energy (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
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  President. − The next item is the report (A7-0264/2012) by Krišjānis Kariņš, on behalf of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council setting up an information exchange mechanism with regard to intergovernmental agreements between Member States and third countries in the field of energy (COM(2011)0540 – C7-0235/2011 – 2011/0238(COD)).

 
  
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  Krišjānis Kariņš, rapporteur. (LV) Mr President, we know that we in the European Union are heavily dependent on energy imports. In the gas sector, import dependence on third countries has already exceeded 60% with a clear upward trend; in the oil sector, it is already over 80%. Of course, it is very important for us – for Europe – to ensure secure and stable energy supplies.

How is that being done today? At present, each European Union Member State concludes a bilateral agreement with a third-country supplier for these energy supplies. Unfortunately, these agreements are completely non-transparent. No one except the specific Member State really knows what provisions these agreements contain. There is also the possibility, of course, that European legislation is not being fully observed; in particular, it is possible that fixed energy-supply networks in the gas sector are impenetrable to competition. What does this mean for us? It means that European consumers may be suffering from this situation. Where there is no competition, the price will unfortunately be higher; there is also a lack of Europe-wide coordination, and therefore even a kind of ‘divide and rule’ policy is possible on the part of suppliers. Each Member State fends as it can, alone.

What is the proposed solution? In February 2011, the Council in its Council conclusions instructed – requested – the Commission to come forward with legislation, with a solution that could improve this situation. The Commission has done so, and that is the legislation that we are specifically discussing today.

What is the basic proposal for simplifying everything? There is a proposal to create a single information-exchange mechanism in which all Member States would provide the Commission with information on bilateral agreements. Not only would the Commission then be able to assess whether such agreements comply with European legislation and whether competition in terms of infrastructure is ensured, but a possibility for coordination would also arise, allowing Europe to start speaking with one voice in negotiations with these third-country energy suppliers.

So far in the committee, when we started assessing this draft legislation, we were strongly in agreement that the Commission’s proposed legislation should not only be supported, but even made stricter, assigning an even greater role to the Commission. More than 90% of the committee supported the final text – with this large mandate I headed for trilateral talks with the Council, in the so-called trialogue, and there, as all shadow rapporteurs who were also present know, we virtually ran into a wall. In essence, the Council, without saying so directly, did not want this legislation – in spite of the fact that by working with the Danish Presidency in three trialogues, in three rounds, we reached a compromise solution that would be acceptable to both Parliament and the Council, so that we could adopt this legislation at all.

What, then, is this solution? The solution is for the Commission to find the possibility of establishing the aforementioned information-exchange mechanism; for the Member States to submit to the Commission all existing and also future agreements for assessment; for a possibility to be created for determining whether the legislation is being observed; and for the unified information base that would help the European countries in negotiations with third-country suppliers to be established.

What is not included is a right for the Commission itself to get involved even before the signing of an agreement in order to eliminate problems in the initial version. The Council simply did not accept that. However, I urge you to support this compromise; by supporting this legislation, we shall be taking a step towards a unified European energy policy and toward securing the interests of our consumers.

Thank you.

 
  
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  Günther Oettinger, Member of the Commission. – (DE) Mr President, honourable Members, this is not the first time that we have tried to establish a stronger common position regarding our external energy relations. I can only concur with Mr Kariņš and his account of the entire process. I can only thank him for his committed, diplomatically adroit presentation on behalf of Parliament, which has produced a successful result.

What is it all about? On the one hand, it is about the fact that we have intergovernmental agreements between Member States and third states that we know are not based 100% on European law, in other words that are not compatible with European law. We do not believe that these agreements were concluded by the Member States because they sought to anger the European Union, but rather because they were pressurised into these agreements by the supplier countries. That is why disclosure is the right way to determine whether agreements between Member States and third countries are based on European law and internal market law – and to change these if this is not the case.

It is a matter of competitive advantages and disadvantages. The playing field is not level when suppliers and the states in which they are established are aware of all agreements, but the Member States only know about their own. Transparency rules can provide a remedy here.

The next matter is the investors. These are generally interested in private investments for networks, for example for gas pipelines. These infrastructural projects require a certain degree of legal clarity. However, if the intergovernmental agreements are not known, the result is uncertainty. Greater transparency in terms of the compatibility of the agreement with European law means that we can prevent nasty surprises, avoid infringement proceedings, establish legal certainty and therefore establish investment incentives.

The compromise now achieved lags somewhat behind what we proposed and what Parliament wanted. This is an important first step, however. Historically speaking, this is the first time that we have a certain European external energy policy. It will no longer be as easy for third parties to play the ‘divide and conquer’ game. All elements in the current proposal, namely the commitment to disclose existing intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) that impact on the internal market, the confirmation that the Commission can demand to be allowed to participate in negotiations as an observer and to act in an advisory capacity, and the option of being able, on request, to test in advance the compatibility of negotiated agreements with EU law – all of this establishes clarity sooner, strengthens the European internal market and reinforces the position of the Member States in relation to supplier countries, in other words third countries.

This is what we are now going to implement in the legislation. Again I would like to thank you for your excellent cooperation in Parliament. We shall also examine how this works in practice. The precise monitoring and compliance of our new laws will need to be managed in the coming years. The Commission will see whether we have sufficient instruments for this purpose. If not, we shall present a proposal in a few years for how the issue of external energy policy is to be developed. This is the right and important first step, but no doubt further action will be required. I would like to thank you for your cooperation.

 
  
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  Marietta Giannakou, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. – (EL) Mr President, the new information exchange mechanism will de facto increase consistency and cohesion in the Union’s external energy relations and, at the same time, strengthen the Union’s strategic position in its relations with third countries. Today I am speaking as the representative and rapporteur for the Committee on Foreign Affairs. We must not forget that the European Union is still heavily dependent on energy imports, making the functioning of and the energy supply on the energy market insecure in numerous cases. This new mechanism may indeed substantially strengthen the Member States’ negotiation power via the single European market and the Commission’s expertise in Community law. At the same time, the legal certainty that will apply to future investment decisions via a stable legal framework will make it easier for the Union to finance such works and may, in numerous cases, speed up implementation times. Clearly, the improved coordination that can be achieved via this mechanism should not be interpreted as a loss of flexibility in the Member States. The entire endeavour will be of an auxiliary nature and should not replace the Member States as the competent bodies for entering into energy agreements with third countries. However, the Commission’s involvement may generate exponential benefits by providing essential assistance to the Member States, especially during the negotiation stage of such agreements.

 
  
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  Pilar del Castillo Vera, on behalf of the PPE Group.(ES) Mr President, Commissioner, please allow me to begin by congratulating the rapporteur, Mr Kariņš, and all the shadow rapporteurs, who took the decision to continue moving forward during the negotiation in the trialogues, which was fraught with difficulties, and described so well by Mr Kariņš.

I would say that thanks to that effort and determination, we now have a mechanism that, for the first time, allows information and communication to be exchanged between Member States and the Commission regarding intergovernmental agreements in the field of energy that are reached in those Member States.

I believe the idea is to have constant knowledge of the supply map or the energy supply networks and it is very positive, therefore, for the improved management of energy supply in the European Union.

When it comes to this regulation, if I had to use a simile, I would say we are paving the way to progressing more quickly in developing the internal energy market. If we throw this opportunity away and do not start paving the way, as is the desire of a certain political group in the House, we would simply be missing a golden opportunity. After a time, we would find ourselves in the same situation as today, but much further down the line.

I trust, therefore, there will be a lot of parliamentary support for this proposal tomorrow. I thank the rapporteur and shadow rapporteurs once again for their contribution.

 
  
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  Bernd Lange, on behalf of the S&D Group. – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, Mr Kariņš, I should like to start by extending the warmest of thanks to the rapporteur, Mr Kariņš, for his hard work and, above all, for his patience during negotiations. I would also like to thank you, Mr Oettinger, for your proposal. In general, you are doing your work really well in the area of energy policy. The object of my criticism, in other words the Council, is not here at present.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have participated in around 50 conciliation procedures and trialogues, involving negotiations with the Council. However, in all this time, I have never witnessed anything like this before, namely that the Council has taken a heavy-handed position, seeking to blackmail Parliament by saying: take it or leave it. I have never known the Council’s chief negotiator to get up and leave a trialogue before.

So, we have a contradiction to what we are constantly being told in the sermons from on high: we need more involvement from Europe. This morning we have once again discussed the fact that what we need in this crisis situation is more involvement from Europe and an agreement in relation to our core policies. Mr Oettinger, you have hit the nail on the head. Energy policy is central to the European Union, to economic growth and to a forward-looking energy policy. It is only logical, ladies and gentlemen, that we can only have a sound energy policy if we can also agree on a common external energy policy, in other words agreements with third countries. Accordingly, while I understand and sympathise with the idea that achieving the lowest standard is better than nothing, we must press for greater commitment in this legislative proposal. We want to make it mandatory for the Commission to be informed and we want the Commission to participate in negotiations. That is the least we need in order to ensure that a European external energy policy really is put into practice and that the Member States do not drag their feet as usual. We shall table these amendments tomorrow and hope that you will support them so that we can give the Council something more to work with.

Commissioner, I am naturally hopeful that you are really serious about your last point, namely that there should be an examination of the Council’s behaviour in future, so that we can get a reasonable revision on track.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: RAINER WIELAND
Vice-President

 
  
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  Jürgen Creutzmann, on behalf of the ALDE Group.(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, in many political areas we already speak with a single European voice at international level. Unfortunately, this is not true with regard to external energy policy. It is regrettable that the Commission’s proposal and the ambitious position of Parliament were rejected by the Member States. In formal terms the Council may be right in claiming that the European Union does not have executive powers. However, it must be clear to all of us that we must all pull together in the energy sector if we are to meet the challenges of security of supply and affordable energy in the long term. As globalisation progresses and various actors in the energy markets flex their muscles, even the large Member States must realise that in the long run we can only succeed by acting in concert. This is even more the case for the smaller Member States.

We knew from the start that our parliamentary position was very ambitious. We had to expect resistance. However, it gives one pause to realise that the Council saw no room for negotiations. Having weighed up all the options, we can agree to the results of the negotiations. After all, we have the opportunity to agree at least a legal framework, a basis on which we can build in a few years’ time. I believe that this is better than a failed legislative text that would have forced us to start again from scratch next time around. For this reason, we will vote against the amendments tabled by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament.

I would like to express my sincere thanks again to the rapporteurs for their commitment and for their efforts to support the Commission in this.

 
  
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  Konrad Szymański, on behalf of the ECR Group. – (PL) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the creation of an open and competitive gas market in Europe does not appeal to some of our partners. In recent years, the principle of equal access by different entities to transmission infrastructure and the freedom to re-export gas purchased have been openly opposed by Russia, who wants privileges. Gazprom could doubtless manage in a competitive market, but like any state-owned monopoly it fiercely defends its monopolistic position, which – in view of the underdevelopment of the market in Central Europe – enables it to dictate prices and impose contractual terms contrary to the rules of a competitive market. Intergovernmental agreements whose sole objective is to circumvent the rules of the common market are a key instrument in such unfair competition practices. A few months ago, there was an opportunity to strengthen the protection of our natural gas market by introducing control mechanisms relating to such agreements. Despite the enormous efforts of the rapporteur, this opportunity has been lost.

 
  
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  Niki Tzavela, on behalf of the EFD Group.(EL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Mr Kariņš’ report does indeed resolve many of Europe’s current energy problems. For example, the energy supply of Lithuania, for which the Commission has already initiated an investigation into Gazprom for antitrust practices, is one such on-going case. This report may resolve such problems. On the other hand, however, Commissioner, we must not forget that energy and energy relations require stability and predictability. We hope that the new mechanism will not disrupt current good energy relations and situations between Member States and third countries.

 
  
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  Gaston Franco (PPE).(FR) Mr President, Commissioner, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), Mr Kariņš, for this difficult report, given the sensitive nature of bilateral negotiations in the field of energy between the Member States and third countries.

The agreement reached in trialogue will allow the rapid implementation of the Commission’s draft decision and, wishing to be pragmatic, we cannot but welcome it. Europe of energy is making progress, admittedly slow progress, but nevertheless progress. The European Union relies heavily on imported energy, and is in a position of structural dependence on certain supplier countries. In order for our thinking on our energy strategy to become more European, it therefore became necessary to make information on energy agreements more widely available in the Commission, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity.

The establishment of an information exchange mechanism with regard to intergovernmental agreements will therefore ensure greater transparency of the energy market and, thus, allow us to anticipate problems of energy supply.

I welcome the fact that this decision does not create obligations as regards agreements between commercial entities. At times of crisis and, given the issues involved in terms of competition and competitiveness, we have a duty to protect our companies’ interests and the safeguards for private contracts.

 
  
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  András Gyürk (PPE).(HU) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the majority of EU Member States ensure their long-term energy supply through intergovernmental agreements with third countries. Yet in their negotiations concerning energy supply they do not make use of the circumstance that the European Union, with its population of 500 million, is the world’s largest gas market. Most Member States step in the ring as featherweights against heavyweight energy exporters. There is no coordinated negotiating strategy, and the information essential for successful negotiations is unavailable. Without information exchange within the EU it is no wonder that our negotiating partners make use of their dominant positions, causing some Member States to lose by knockout.

Ladies and gentlemen, sharing information related to energy supply at Community level is a pre-requisite of entering the heavyweight division. Knowledge of intergovernmental agreements can facilitate the establishment of a coordinated negotiating strategy, which would allow Member States to obtain energy under more favourable conditions. The guarantee for the security of our energy supply and more favourable energy prices lies in closer cooperation between Member States, and common action. This is why I find it important for the Commission to be able to become an active participant in international negotiations upon the request of governments. I congratulate the rapporteur on his work, and would like to thank you for your attention.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D).(RO) Mr President, the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, must ensure that the EU has access to diversified energy sources, thereby enabling European citizens to benefit from uninterrupted energy supply at affordable prices. The proper functioning of the internal energy market contributes to the security of energy supply in the European Union, which is essential for the economic and social development of the European Union and its competitiveness. Given the need to improve the functioning of the internal energy market, this Decision establishes a mechanism for the exchange of information between the Member States and the Commission with regard to intergovernmental agreements in the field of energy.

I think that the Commission needs to make available to the Member States a guide for tackling negotiations in order to ensure compliance with EU legislation, solidarity between the Member States and reliability of energy supplies. At the same time, it is important that, at the request of a Member State, the Commission provide support and technical assistance in the process of negotiation and conclusion of intergovernmental agreements with third countries in the field of energy.

 
  
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  Romana Jordan (PPE). - (SL) Mr President, the Council’s decision to launch the internal electricity and gas market by 2014 has certainly encouraged the preparation and adoption of this legislative document. However, why was the Council so resistant in adopting it afterwards? Is this a misunderstanding or might it be interfering with monopolies?

It is very interesting to follow the Union’s legislative procedures. They usually begin with debates about the added value that a certain common policy would bring for all Member States. This is followed by commitments in principle to draft certain policies. Finally, the painstaking work of drafting legislative documents, in other words negotiations on how we can translate commitments in principle into legislation, begins.

Any new EU legislative document means partly transferring national competence to the Union. However, in many cases, Member States have been reluctant to accept this. This has also been the case with the document we are debating today. Although, so far, this has only been about setting up an information exchange mechanism and not about establishing effective control over the powers of Member States.

The legislative text is rather weak, but it will mean that we are starting to monitor intergovernmental agreements, which will lead to a more coordinated external energy policy of the Union.

It is a start. In the future, this mechanism will be made much more sophisticated - should the actual situation so require. It is right and proper that we support it in the interest of further developing a common energy policy.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE).(PT) Mr President, Commissioner, I would like to congratulate Mr Kariņš on the negotiation work that led to a compromise text which, despite being less ambitious than Parliament’s initial proposal, is a step forward in terms of establishing legislation in the field of external energy policy. I agree with the key points in the compromise text that enhance cooperation between Member States with regard to intergovernmental agreements in the field of energy.

In particular, I welcome the efforts to strengthen the Commission’s role, through both its involvement in negotiations with third parties and its assessment of the compatibility of intergovernmental agreements with Union law.

I also note the agreement reached as regards sharing information on the agreements signed by the Member States to ensure that they support and are in conformity with EU law, in particular the internal market legislation.

I believe that the agreement reached ensures greater transparency of the intergovernmental agreements in the field of energy and is a step towards strengthening the external dimension of the internal energy market in Europe.

 
  
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  Bendt Bendtsen (PPE).(DA) Mr President, thank you for giving me the floor for half a minute. As I see it, the countries in the eastern part of the EU are having a very hard time of it with Gazprom and Russia. It is no secret that Europe’s largest energy companies have strong links with the political world. Consequently, these countries’ attitude is not always equally logical. As far as I can see, the worrying element is the current practice, which is undermining the internal market. We should ensure that the European energy market is transparent and liquid. We must stop the practice whereby, in connection with gas pipeline projects for third countries, agreements are entered into stating that the supply is subject to rules that are not compatible with the rules of the internal market. This is not beneficial for consumers. Nonetheless, I would urge all Members to vote in favour of the agreement, because the agreement is better than the status quo. It will provide greater transparency, and it will provide a revision clause which means that the agreement will have to be scrutinised in great detail in three years’ time.

 
  
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  Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE). - (PL) Mr President, Commissioner, the crisis in the supply of natural gas to Europe at the end of the last decade showed the weakness of the EU and exposed its sensitivity to this type of event. It is true that many actions have been taken to improve the security of energy supply to the European market. I refer to the regulation regarding security of supply, and to the measures taken to build a single internal market). The Commission’s proposal for a decision on setting up an information exchange mechanism with regard to intergovernmental agreements required clarification.

I would like to emphasise that during the Polish-Russian gas negotiations, the Commission had a justified complaint regarding conditions imposed by the supplier in the negotiated agreements. I also made allegations regarding failure to provide complete information. It should be emphasised that as a result of these measures, Poland has developed a working and, as it turned out, a highly effective mechanism of information exchange with the Commission. It is perhaps the only Member State to have done so.

The draft decision which the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy voted through in July contains provisions regarding the Commission’s assistance in the implementation of transnational projects. An example of these are or will be the proposed negotiations by Commission on the issue of gas supply in the Caspian region. The energy balance of the EU in the light of the proposed open and free energy market should not be disrupted by irresponsible or unwise bilateral decisions. Member States should therefore share information regarding intergovernmental agreements concluded, and the Commission should be aware of the existence of such agreements and of the negotiations conducted.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE).(HU) Mr President, Commissioner, a stable economic environment and secure energy supply are exceptionally important for the development of European Union industry. The best way for us to ensure reliability in this regard is through a functional internal energy market. With the introduction of the third energy package, several Member States separated electricity production from transmission, which allowed for the entry of new participants to the market. However, external vulnerability still remains, meaning that the EU needs to import more than 60% of its gas and over 80% of its oil. The 2009 gas crisis, too, pointed out the vulnerability of our energy supply systems. We must find solutions as soon as possible to ensure sustainable supply to European consumers at competitive prices.

The challenges we are facing include the intergovernmental energy supply agreements concluded by Member States with third countries, as these agreements can sometimes have a considerable influence on the internal energy market of the EU. Therefore, in order to prevent infringements of the effective internal market rules concerning energy, we need reinforced cooperation and accurate information exchange between Member States. Experience has shown that the Commission’s participation in Member States’ negotiations with third parties can have a positive impact on the outcome of the negotiations. In many cases this can help ensure conformity with the internal market rules, and can guarantee that the agreements are not contrary to EU laws.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, at the moment, Europe is dependent on energy imports, spending approximately EUR 400 billion on them each year. We need greater diversity in supply sources and networks in order to reduce vulnerabilities and increase energy security. At the same time, improvements in energy security help strengthen the EU’s role in foreign policy.

As regards Romania, my country benefits from both its geographical and geopolitical positions, given that the Black Sea has great potential to achieve European energy security, being a gateway to the regional economic and political block of the European Union. My country supports major projects such as the Nabucco gas pipeline. Romania also attaches particular importance to the interconnection of the national energy and electricity system to similar systems in neighbouring states.

 
  
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  Niki Tzavela (EFD).(EL) Mr President, Mr Kariņš, congratulations on your report, it was most rational. Commissioner, I have a question about the procedure for reviewing intergovernmental agreements: will the Commission service responsible for foreign cases play a decisive role? I consider that energy should fall outside foreign policy rules, because energy is characterised by long terms and predictability and foreign relations are not.

 
  
 

(End of the catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
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  Günther Oettinger, Member of the Commission. – (DE) Mr President, honourable Members, I am grateful for the broad agreement here in Parliament across all groups. We share the same goal of pooling our forces, strengthening the internal market and improving our position in relation to the procurement and delivery of primary energy through transparency, competition and consultation. I also agree with the criticism expressed concerning the lack of cooperation from the Council. The Council’s call on the Commission to present proposals for how to improve external energy policy does not sit well with its daily work of evaluating and rejecting the implementation of the proposals drawn up and presented by the Commission in accordance with its duties. Because this was a strategic question, it was all the more important to achieve this result. If we had not done so, we would have needed a new approach. We have already had a number of approaches to this topic. We now have at least a number of building blocks developed by Parliament and the Council in the legislative proposal. We will now use these. We will then report back to you on how they work in practice. I am certain that the Commission will come up with proposals in two or three years’ time for how this common external energy strategy can be further developed and improved in a second step.

You asked how external energy policy in particular can be linked with foreign policy in general. I have an excellent working relationship with my colleague, Baroness Ashton. We consult closely. In general, energy policy has precedence when it comes to relations with third countries. There can be exceptions to this. I will illustrate this with an example. From an energy policy perspective, boycotting the purchasing of oil from Iran is disadvantageous. It gives us one fewer source of fuel. Some Member States, such as Greece, Italy and Spain, have a problem with this because they buy up to 30% of their oil from Iran. However it is clear that if we are to have an agreed, consistent policy in relation to Iran, then the boycott on purchasing oil must be seen not just from an energy policy perspective, but also from an overall perspective. Hence the need for coordination. In this particular case, energy policy must cede to foreign policy and security policy. Once again: as a rule, the Directorate General for Energy has operative responsibility and we have particular interests in external energy policy that cannot be subordinated to general foreign policy.

Nabucco has been mentioned and the question of how we are to make progress in tapping into new fuel sources. I am certain that it will take until 2018 before significant volumes of oil reach the European market from Azerbaijan, adding another source alongside Russia, Norway, Algeria and our own deposits from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, as well as LNG gas for the gas markets of Europe. We are confident that in nine months’ time, decisions will be made in relation to the specific Nabucco, Nabucco-West, TANAP and TAP lines. It still remains to be seen whether we shall receive gas from Azerbaijan only, or whether volumes of gas from Turkmenistan or Iraq will follow, so that the southern corridor will become an equally significant gas corridor to match long-standing relations with Russia, Norway and Algeria.

Thank you once again for your successful cooperation.

 
  
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  Krišjānis Kariņš, rapporteur. (LV) First of all, I should like to thank everyone who worked on this report, especially the shadow rapporteurs, who were beside me not only in the committee, but also during the trialogue with the Council. Together we achieved as much as we could achieve. I give my thanks to you, to the Danish Presidency, of course to the Commission itself for its support, and to all participants in today’s debate.

In summarising it all, let us remember what exactly our main task – the task of politicians – is with regard to energy policy in this particular case. We must think about European energy consumers, about how to ensure competition, to ensure better, lower, fairer prices for our people. Although this draft law is not perfect, it is an important first step towards establishing this information-exchange mechanism, and it will set real foundations, the first legislative foundations on which a common European Union foreign policy on energy will be built. We have some critics who say that they want a perfect law right away, but ladies and gentlemen, let us remember that for a law to be improved – and believe me, virtually any law can always be improved – a law must have been adopted in the first place. There must be a law adopted, and here we have the opportunity to do so, to take the first steps, and to also improve this law as needed by working together in the future.

Thank you all for your work. I urge you to give your support in tomorrow’s vote.

 
  
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  President. – The debate is closed.

The vote will take place on Thursday, 13 September 2012.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Lena Kolarska- Bobińska (PPE), in writing.(PL) When Vladimir Putin ordered state entities of strategic importance to Russia to consult with the government on how to proceed in situations where they receive a request from another state or from international organisations, he showed why we need this legislation. His decision that Gazprom should not cooperate with the Commission is an affront to the European Union and its legislation. It is a signal that Russia has something to hide in terms of its gas contracts. We cannot let this go unnoticed. The new law on intergovernmental agreements is an initial important step towards Member States working together and sharing information. It means that we improve the prospects of cooperation within the European Union, but also the prospects of a fair price from Russia. I regret that this legislation does not go further to provide for even closer cooperation in the exchange of information between states. The Council allowed national interests to prevail over European energy solidarity. I hope that Russia’s rejection of the third energy package and its statements prohibiting Gazprom from sharing any information will prompt the Council to reconsider its position.

I would like the Council to make corrections to the adopted legislation as soon as possible. States cooperating with the European Union must respect our legislation, and Russia is no exception in this regard.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) This decision is a very important and welcome step in developing a single EU external energy policy, ensuring that entities from third countries operating in the EU’s future single internal energy market comply with the same rules as EU entities. Although the decision might be ambitious, if Member States willingly cooperate in sharing information we will soon be able to ensure benefits for the EU energy sector, the overall development of infrastructure and the creation of the internal market. I welcome the Commission’s declaration to participate actively, continue surveillance and provide further legislative proposals, if necessary.

 
Last updated: 29 January 2013Legal notice