Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0446/2008

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 24/09/2008 - 15
CRE 24/09/2008 - 15

Votes :

PV 25/09/2008 - 7.5
CRE 25/09/2008 - 7.5

Texts adopted :

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17 September 2008
further to Questions for Oral Answer B6‑0460/2008 and B6‑0461/2008
pursuant to Rule 108(5) of the Rules of Procedure
by Rebecca Harms, Claude Turmes and Caroline Lucas
on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
on rising energy prices

European Parliament resolution on rising energy prices 

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Council and the European Parliament entitled ‘An Energy Policy for PlaceNameplaceEurope’ (COM(2007)0001),

–  having regard to the Presidency conclusions of the European Council of 8-9 March 2007, and the European Council’s Action Plan (2007-2009) for an Energy Policy for Europe (EPE),

–  having regard to its resolution on ‘towards a common European foreign policy on energy’ of 26 September 2007(1),

–  having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the EU economy, at least in certain sectors, is not well prepared to face the current energy prices, in particular oil prices,

B.  whereas rising, and above all volatile, energy prices constitute a serious problem for those households in the EU which have a low income and which suffer disproportionally from high transportation and heating costs, largely due to high oil prices, but also for certain energy-consuming activities and services such as fishing, agriculture, road haulage and a limited number of energy-intensive industries,

C.  whereas it considers speculation by hedge funds but also by oil majors and electricity and gas companies to be a major factor in the price rises during recent months at global and EU level,

D.  whereas the European Parliament is aware that energy prices depend on various factors which do not directly depend on EU policy-makers, such as the volatile world oil price and the link between the oil and gas price, and for these reasons sees only a limited scope for policy measures in the short term to reduce per unit costs of oil, gas and electricity,

E.  whereas the European Parliament is conscious that the world economy is at the edge of a global resources crisis, fuelled by a highly resource-inefficient and fossil-fuel-driven world, where the mainstream Western economic model is now taken up with a speed that nobody foresaw by population-rich emerging economies driving a real price race for all kinds of energy resources, as well as other resources and commodities, including food,

F.  whereas the greatest potential for reducing overall energy costs is to be found in increasing energy productivity and energy saving,

G.  whereas the European Parliament is also aware of the numerous possibilities for the EU and national governments and local governments to help the energy-poor citizens and economic sectors that have been affected, by means of coordinated short-term measures such as direct payments to alleviate energy poverty, direct aid or tax cuts for certain economic sectors and better information and easier access to short- and mid-term energy-saving measures,

H.  whereas renewable energies, energy saving and energy-efficiency policies and measures are the only ways to reduce our dependency on conventional fuels,

placeI.  whereas legislation to promote renewable sources of energy in the field of electricity have resulted in, or boosted, sustainable developments in the Member States,

J.  whereas achieving at least a 20% energy-efficiency improvement by 2020 is essential to successfully achieving the 20% renewables target, to increasing our energy independency and to achieving the EU targets on climate change,

1.  Emphasises that, unless there is a concerted shift in energy policy and consumption, the energy demand in the EU will continue to grow in the coming decades; acknowledges in this context that combating climate change will be more challenging while imposing at the same time significant costs on consumers and businesses and increasing energy prices;

2.  Calls on ECOFIN to address speculation around energy prices in a vigorous but realistic way by establishing a common code of conduct to prevent speculation on the energy-trading floors and by introducing coordinated policies on the taxation of windfall profits of energy speculators and big energy companies; the revenue from those incomes could constitute the basis for setting up national funds for oil innovation and relief;

3.  Calls on the Commission to establish a common set of rules for all EU Member States on how to help certain economic sectors with targeted measures, without creating major distortions in the EU internal market;

4.  Urges Member-State governments at all levels to seriously tackle energy poverty in the EU and to establish concrete emergency policies for those economic sectors particularly affected;

5.  Stresses that national measures should further ensure the continuity of existing EU policies in the field of the internal energy market and in the field of climate change policies and in such a way that they do not to create any distortions in the EU internal market and asks therefore the EU Commission, ECOFIN and the summit of EU Heads of State and Government to establish a set of clear minimum standards and rules for a strong and well-coordinated responses to the current price hikes;

6.  Calls on the Commission and ECOFIN to vigorously reject populist and counterproductive initiatives, such as calls for reduced VAT on primary energy goods such as oil and gas, and to privilege intelligent and long-term structural measures, such as the proposal for reduced VAT for energy-saving goods and services put forward by the British Prime Minister;

7.  Recalls that renewable energy and energy efficiency are among the best ways to shield both consumers and industry from the dual effects of increased energy imports and rising fuel costs; insists that the development of any energy policy must not create any new social barriers and that energy prices must be transparent and competitive;

8.  Acknowledges that there is a major opportunity to abate energy demand in a cost-effective way; recalls that energy-saving potential is as high as 40% in the EU, but that to reach this goal strict binding targets must be set; regrets, in this regard, that no binding target concerning energy savings and efficiency has hitherto been set as part of the EU commitment to combat climate change;

9.  Urges the EU and its Member States, therefore, to take concrete measures towards cutting energy demand and to invest urgently and massively in an energy-efficient economy in order to diminish drastically our dependency on fossil-fuel energy and meet the objectives of the UN Framework Convention on climate change and its related Kyoto Protocol; calls, therefore, on the Commission to launch a vast programme that will make the EU the most energy-efficient economy by 2020;

10.  Stresses furthermore that renewable energy sources combined with energy conservation measures reduce Europe’s dependence on energy imports and thus diminish the political and economic risks resulting from these imports;

11.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that energy saving, energy efficiency and renewable energies are prioritised in the design of future EU energy policy, in particular under the upcoming Strategic Energy Review, as truly sustainable solutions for reducing the EU’s dependency on conventional fuels;

12.  Stresses the need for boosting innovation in the field of energy from fossil fuels by imposing a technology-neutral greenhouse-gas-emissions limit on fossil-fuel power plants;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ C 219 E, 28.8.2008, p. 206.

Last updated: 19 September 2008Legal notice