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Monday, 25 October 2004 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Consequences of the rise in oil prices for the European economy, agriculture and fisheries

  Schierhuber (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the continual rise in oil prices is again bringing home to us our economic dependency on third states. We must never forget that crude oil has been, and still is, the cause of many economic conflicts, not to mention the detrimental effects that its extraction, processing and use have on the environment. Nor must we ever forget that we are dealing here with a finite resource. It is high time for Europe to free itself from economic dependence on oil imports.

High oil prices have an adverse effect on agriculture and mean substantial losses of income for our farmers. The targeted use of renewable energies is now more necessary than ever before; not only does the use of renewable raw materials significantly help to protect the environment, but it also offers new alternative sources of income for our farmers. Above all else, though, it is the right way to become self-sufficient in energy, so we have to push for the voluntary Europe-wide admixture of biofuels, which is a half-hearted solution, to be made mandatory. In this Directive, the interests of the oil industry have prevailed to a large extent, while the goals of the Kyoto Protocol, more secure income for our rural areas and an opportunity to create more jobs, including in the outermost regions, have lost out.

Commissioner, our responsibilities to future generations demand of us that we press for the more efficient promotion and mandatory admixture of renewable energies right across Europe. If now is not the time to do this, then when is? So, equipped with new and smart energies, let us go on the march into the future!

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