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Wednesday, 22 March 2006 - Brussels OJ edition

12. Security of energy supply in the European Union (debate)

  President. – The next item is the oral question to the Council (O-0007/2006 – B6-0009/2006) by Mr Chichester, on behalf of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, on the security of energy supply.


  Giles Chichester (PPE-DE), author. – Mr President, I am delighted to be putting this question on behalf of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. It follows the question that was debated in January on the subject of security of supply of energy.

The world has moved on a little since then. We have now the Green Paper from the Commission and the conclusions of the Council meeting last week. Both of those are of great interest and show clearly that many of the points raised in debate previously have been taken on board. I would like to thank the Commissioner and congratulate the Council for doing that. It is also welcome that energy matters have risen to the top of the agenda.

This is an issue crucially about import dependence on a range of fuels. Therefore, our question asks what the Commission will do in order to react appropriately to developments and changes in the geopolitical, strategic and diplomatic situation. However, I wish to emphasise that I feel those aspects are more within the purview of our colleagues in the Committee on Foreign Affairs. I am very happy for some of my colleagues who will follow in this debate to make those points.

The most important point to make about security of supply is the essential requirement of diversity: diversity of fuel, diversity of source and diversity of technology. This is absolutely essential.

I should like to make the point that I was a little disappointed in the Green Paper – which we look forward to debating in full and due course – because perhaps not enough recognition was given to the crucial role of nuclear energy in providing the largest share of electricity in the European Union. Parliament recently adopted an amendment seeking an ambitious but realistic target of 60% of electricity in the European Union coming from ultra-low or non-carbon-emitting sources. This is only possible with a combination of renewable energy sources and nuclear energy. I note with great pleasure that the Council conclusions refer to ‘sustainable and efficient energy systems’. Nuclear energy springs to my mind in that context.

However, there are other energy sources that we must remember. Since the EU enlarged, our proportion of dependence on imports of coal has gone down from 50% to 35%, because one particular Member State is a significant producer of coal. We should not lose sight of the benefits and potential of clean coal technology when we have this significant indigenous energy source.

The motion for a resolution attached to this oral question places emphasis, among other things, on greater efficiency in the transport sector. It places emphasis on the importance of researching and developing future energy technologies and it looks to proposals for improving energy efficiency in buildings.

We have given the Commissioner four questions and we look forward to hearing from him in due course. We want to know what we can do about reducing our dependence on imported oil and gas. We want to know what other sources he thinks we may develop. Perhaps he has some thoughts on gas supplies, management of gas stocks and storage facilities for gas.

Finally, we look to the Commission to weave into this issue of security of supply the related question of climate change and how we adjust our energy policy in a post-Kyoto era to achieve our three aims of sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply.



  Hans Winkler, President-in-Office of the Council. Mr President, firstly I would like to thank Mr Chichester for the question. It comes at a good time. As a matter of fact, the Austrian Presidency was exactly eight hours old when the point was driven home to us that energy is a European problem, a problem for all of us, because at 8 a.m. on the morning of 1 January 2006, the gas conflict between Russia, Ukraine and Moldova actually began. It became evident that we needed to address this problem, despite it not being entirely new. However, its importance has become evident, especially during the course of this year.

It is quite clear that for Europe, energy supply is a question of the highest importance. This is why the European Council meeting tomorrow will deal with this matter as one of its priorities.

We also convened an additional extraordinary Council meeting of energy ministers, to which you have alluded, in order to prepare for the European Council meeting in the best way possible. That meeting of energy ministers came up with very useful and helpful suggestions which will be discussed tomorrow and the day after.

It also became evident that, in connection with the gas dispute between Russia, Ukraine and Moldova, the question of energy supply is not only a question that we can discuss among ourselves. When I had the pleasure of reporting to the Committee on Foreign Affairs yesterday it was very much stressed that this is a question of the foreign policy of the European Union. This is because we need to cooperate with our partners and with our neighbours in order to take their problems into account. It is important for us to emphasise the political and economic stability of the transit country, for example. We also need to include countries of supply and consumer countries in our debates.

This is why we have intensive relations in this connection with OPEC, Russia and other important countries such as China and India. We are also active as regards international instruments. I will just mention very briefly the International Energy Agency, the International Energy Forums and Euromed, which plays an important role. There are other important international agreements, such as for example the energy agreement with south-east Europe. I hope, Mr Chichester, that we will get the agreement of this House very soon, as we hope to receive this before the Ministers’ meeting in June.

(DE) There are of course also other important aspects to the security of energy supply, such as the question of the diversification of our energy sources, especially to include domestic energy sources, in particular, too, the question of renewable energy sources. Demand management, including improving the efficiency of energy use, is also of highest importance in this connection, however.

In talking to its partners, the Council regularly emphasises that adequate investment in infrastructure and exploration are also crucial. For this reason, the Council also considers it of the highest importance that the resolution of the European Parliament and the Council on trans-European energy networks should be adopted soon, since it will be impossible to diversify supply and hence have greater security of supply without resources to expand the European energy network. So far as the security of supply in particular is concerned, the Council has in the past already adopted legal provisions, which I will not mention in detail now for reasons of time. I will refer briefly also to the Directive on measures to safeguard security of natural gas supply, which was adopted in 2004.

Turning now to your question about alternative energy sources, Mr Chichester, the Council believes that two main components of energy policy deserve particular mention here, and I have already referred to them briefly: the question of diversification of fuel sources and energy efficiency. As has already been said in today’s debate – energy was a key element in the debate you have just concluded, and rightly so – the Member States must themselves decide on the energy mix they will choose as an expression of their national policies. Whatever the Member States decide, diversification of fuel sources naturally includes – and I think this is particularly important – diversification of supplier countries, so far as energy imports are concerned; but renewable energy sources are also particularly important here.

In this connection, the Council can also point to a whole series of instruments, which I shall mention only briefly here. Regarding the diversification of fuel sources, especially through the use of renewable energies, the Council and European Parliament have already adopted a Directive on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in 2001. I would also like to draw your attention in this connection to the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the promotion of the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels for transport. In December last year, agreement was also reached with the European Parliament on the draft directive on energy efficiency and energy services, which I hope can be adopted in the next few months; we are working to that end. So much on the question of energy saving.

I would also like to point out that the ‘Intelligent Energy for Europe’ Programme is already making an important contribution here as part of the sixth Framework Research Programme. The seventh Framework Research Programme and the ‘Intelligent Energy for Europe’ Programme currently under discussion as part of the CIP Programme will also contain an appropriate and relevant priority.

There are also measures in the non-legislative sphere; only last year, for example, the energy ministers made a contribution to the 2005 Spring European Council. The Council is currently looking very urgently and attentively at the Biomass Action Plan, which has a high priority for us.

Mr Chichester, I would like to conclude by referring to your question about Kyoto post 2012, the security of energy supply and the competitiveness of the European Union and saying that in our view this effect may be fundamentally positive. It seems to me particularly important to say that we are convinced that a well-designed environment policy will have a positive effect on growth and employment.

Measures to promote energy efficiency lead to ecological innovations and environmental technologies, and demand for such innovations is growing steadily all over the world. This is also creating opportunities for our economies. By diversifying energy sources and especially by promoting renewable energy sources, we also want to make a contribution to the security of energy supply and at the same time to stemming climate change and increasing the competitiveness of the EU as a whole.



  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. Mr President, the previous debate on the Commission’s work programme focused a lot on energy. I am very grateful for this and for the question that was put to the Commission and made this debate possible.

In a way, the Green Paper on a European strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy has given the answers as to how we should proceed in addressing the challenges set out in your question. We should also realise that this is a global challenge: the tightness of supply and demand, climate change, import dependency and investment needs in the energy sector are all global challenges. The response from the European Union is a common energy policy. We have significant support from citizens. In a recent opinion poll, 47% of European citizens supported action at European level. We received a lot of support from many Member States and national parliaments after the publication of the Green Paper. It is clear that the main added value of this Green Paper lies in this common approach where we stress that security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability cannot be separated in our energy policy. All three should interact.

At the same time, it is also clear that we cannot find a silver bullet and there is no silver bullet. It means that in the area of energy policy we should focus on a set of measures in specific areas. Firstly, it is important for security of supply, sustainability and competitiveness to provide a really competitive, open, transparent EU internal market. That is also crucial for security of supply. We provide for some actions that really provide for not only stronger competition but also cross-border trade: cross-border energy transactions. This is an extremely important area and I expect support from this House in the future on these issues.

The second issue, which is extremely important – as the President-in-Office indicated – is solidarity. The Union is strong when there is solidarity. Solidarity means, firstly, being ready for extreme situations; secondly, it involves the solidarity mechanism and, thirdly, it involves a lot of information on what is happening on the energy markets. I agree that diversity is the most important issue, but to use this diversity in the best possible way we need a lot of information and a lot of transparency. We provide for such measures by revisiting the oil stocks directive, placing more focus on the security of supply of electricity and gas and looking for new mechanisms that really correspond to the needs of our citizens, who would like to know that should an extreme situation arise, we have a mechanism and reserves in place that could be used in such a situation.

Then there is the issue of the energy mix. That should be the responsibility of each Member State – it is a question of subsidiarity. However, we know that action in one particular Member State influences all the other Member States, at least the neighbouring Member States. That means that we should take action taking into account our neighbours’ energy policies and try to boost the best possible actions.

A strategic EU energy review, which would allow us to revisit these issues continually, is necessary to provide the best approach in terms of each state’s energy mix. Energy efficiency and renewable energy development will definitely be on the rise in deciding an energy mix. However, at the same time, I also believe that the nuclear energy that is now in the energy mix will be used in many Member States. It is important, however, to ensure that this energy is used in a safe and sustainable way.

I also believe in the diversity that could bring us new technologies and in clean coal, carbon sequestration and so on. We now have a good example with the Shell and Statoil project involving carbon sequestration and post-combustion. This is not a demonstration project: for the first time, a real industrial project involving 860 megawatts is bringing new possibilities for a diversification in the energy mix that corresponds to the objectives of our energy policy.

Some people have indicated that there is not enough focus on energy efficiency. I disagree, as there is a lot of emphasis on it. Parliament has debated the Green Paper on energy efficiency. We will propose a very ambitious European action plan on energy efficiency, which will place a lot of emphasis on transport. However, the focus on energy efficiency will be continued in all Member States through their national action plans and this is extremely important.

Regarding technology, I mention just one example: Europe is able to provide for new technologies, but we should use all the possibilities in a coherent way. I believe that the European strategic energy technology plan really could make a difference.

Last, but not least, the areas I should like to bring to your attention are international. The best response for security of supply is not only diversity, but also lies in global, transparent and competitive gas and oil markets. This is the vision that could provide the necessary diversity. For this to happen, we need to stabilise the countries that have gas and oil resources. We should build infrastructure that allows us to bring more gas from different regions in the world, because only in this way can we provide security of supply in gas and oil. We should promote our vision of the market to the near neighbourhood. The energy community should be expanded.

Tomorrow, the European Council will have the opportunity to debate these issues. I believe that the momentum created by the Green Paper for establishing a European common policy in energy will be continued. I am very grateful for the debate and I look forward to working with this House towards establishing a European energy policy that corresponds to the basic needs of our citizens.


  Paul Rübig, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. (DE) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office, Commissioner Piebalgs, ladies and gentlemen, for several months we have been in the middle of a new strategic debate. We see the conflict with Iran, and the war in Iraq, but we also see conflict with OPEC countries where we would not have thought that such developments would occur. We see that China is making strategic purchases on the energy markets; we see that Russia is moving away from a continuous, reliable policy; and we see that world markets are undergoing very dynamic developments. We therefore need to stand by our goals, the goals of the Lisbon Agenda.

We want growth and employment. Therefore, energy policy – and I should like to thank Commissioner Piebalgs for putting the focus on energy efficiency – is a top priority. This could open up whole new areas of business to our small and medium-sized enterprises. It creates jobs in craft trades, and small business cycles that give us energy security.

On the other hand, we must not forget the competitiveness of our energy industry. In this respect, I call in particular on the Commission to look closely into the impact of the Kyoto Protocol post-2012 on our energy-intensive primary industries, such as the steel and aluminium industry and many other sectors, and on our generation of energy. I think that we also need to look at the environmental aspects of sustainability, with particular reference to competitiveness.

I call on the Commission and Mr Barroso to make use of the various services of the Commission – be it with regard to communications strategy, taxation policy, external economic relations, foreign policy, competition policy or environmental policy – in taking on this important task, which is hugely significant for our future in Europe.


  Robert Goebbels, on behalf of the PSE Group. (FR) Mr President, we live in a world that is increasingly starved of energy. The main consumers – the Americans and Europeans – cannot deny the Chinese, Indians and others the right to strive after our living standards and to consume more energy.

With an increasing global demand, the consumer countries must unite in the face of markets that are organised into cartels with the aim of influencing the level at which prices are set. In a context such as this, energy savings and increased energy efficiency are the main priority. The International Energy Agency has calculated that if computer manufacturers were simply forced to reduce the amount of energy consumed by computers in standby mode to one watt, instead of the current ten watts, this would save the equivalent of twenty 1 000 megawatt power plants.

We need to make more use of renewable energy sources: Brazil produces 700 million litres of ethanol, a by-product of its sugar industry; Mauritius saves 20 000 tonnes of oil by burning fibrous waste in its power stations; Sweden is going to force all of its service stations to offer biofuels; and, in Fiji, diesel engines are being run on copra oil.

That being said, renewable energy sources cannot totally replace traditional energy sources. Technological breakthroughs are needed in relation to solar energy, hydrogen cells and so on. Even wind power, for which Europe has significant offshore potential, requires substantial investment to make the networks secure. The world will not be able to give up coal and nuclear power in a hurry. These choices are the responsibility of the Member States, which must freely decide what their energy mix will be.

Europe will have to invest more in research on energy efficiency, on renewables, on carbon sequestration, on clean coal, on nuclear safety and on fusion. The Union will have to implement a more united energy policy. It must complete its internal market by preventing a situation whereby the markets are divided up to the advantage of oligopolies. I will conclude by saying that the Spring Council must make a decision: a Europe without a common energy policy will be nothing other than a weak power.


  Lena Ek, on behalf of the ALDE Group. (SV) Mr President, Commissioner, representatives of Austria, ladies and gentlemen, it is hard to conceive just how incredibly dependent Europe is on imports, and that puts us in a very worrying situation. We need to overhaul production and distribution and to regulate the market in such a way that it operates properly. In other words, consumer rights and transfer capacity need to be regulated, and the dominant position of the big energy companies looked into.

We are not using existing technology. We are reducing research appropriations in the ongoing budget negotiations, and industry is not being given the clear signals it needs if it is to dare to invest and to do so on a long-term basis. The Member States themselves choose their energy mix, and that is all to the good. We are now at a stage at which the Green Paper has arrived. We in the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe support the Green Paper and find it extremely constructive, as, too, we do Mrs Kroes’ work on the issue of competition.

Mr Winkler, you began, however, by saying that, at eight o’clock on 1 January, Europe was given a shock where energy was concerned and that we were given it by Russia. In this situation, many heads of national governments are now getting nervous and wish to re-regulate. They want to see protectionism within the energy sector, a development that would be diametrically opposed to what the Council has previously said it wanted to see and to what the Commission and Parliament want to see. That is a disgrace when we are at a stage at which, by siding with them, we can help the new Member States obtain stability where the supply of energy is concerned and at which we can solve major environmental problems. It is a disgrace to put forward these arguments when we can also create so many jobs in Europe. I am sorry to say that our own Swedish head of government, Göran Persson, has today said that he wishes to re-regulate the Swedish energy market.

If you go on doing what you have always done, you will go on getting what you have always got, as the saying goes. We cannot, however, afford to have such a situation in Europe any longer. We need extremely tough decisions to be taken, and Austria, which will chair tomorrow’s meeting of the Council of Ministers, has a heavy responsibility.


  Claude Turmes, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. (DE) Mr President, the Heads of State or Government will meet tomorrow for an energy summit. Will they discuss energy? I fear they will not; tomorrow Mr Berlusconi will put on a big show, and Enel will announce that it is going to take over Suez. In other words, it will be a show for the Italian elections, and Mr Villepin and President Chirac will use the whole affair to paint themselves once again as national heroes in a French government that is falling apart.

These are all just smoke bombs over the internal market. What is the real issue in the EU's internal market? As it currently operates, it is the biggest economic mistake that Europe has ever experienced. Enel fleeces Italian consumers, Endesa fleeces Spanish consumers, Suez fleeces Belgian consumers and E.ON fleeces German consumers. And now we are supposed to be discussing whether we have national champions or – as Mr Barroso says – even bigger European champions that are even more dominant in their markets and put consumers and competitiveness in Europe at even greater risk. No, that is not the question! The real question is this: will we ultimately win through politically, and be able to regulate appropriately and independently and separate the networks from everything else? Transport policy must be central to energy policy, and, until it is a central element, all of these documents are just paper tigers.

The most important contributions we have to make by means of our policies are long-term goals, renewable energy, efficiency and CO2 targets – otherwise there can be no security of investment. What this debate is lacking, it seems to me, is a new methodology. We have not so far managed to achieve good coordination at all levels. In other words, we need new partnerships. And what is Mr Barroso doing, going around like a bull in a china shop as usual? He is putting energy, an issue that divides European citizens more than any other, at the centre of the debate! Is it even possible to act with less political sense that Mr Barroso is currently doing with regard to the press?


  Esko Seppänen, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. (FI) Mr President, Commissioner, President-in-Office of the Council, we know the large oil companies’ forecasts. They say that by 2030 approximately 80% of the world’s energy will still be produced from fossil fuels. History shows that these forecasts are credible, even if we were to do everything possible to save energy, improve energy efficiency, support the use of alternative forms of energy and use biofuels, and even if we were to build more nuclear power stations while decommissioning the old reactors.

It is a well-known fact that there are no longer any major oil deposits in the EU countries and the gas in our region will also be used up over the course of the next 10 years. According to the Green Paper just out, EU import dependency as a whole will have risen to 71% by 2030.

If the oil companies’ predictions that our energy needs will mainly be met by using fossil fuels come true, there will be fiercer competition for these fuels. The EU wants to satisfy all of the growth in its energy needs by using gas. The development of the liquefaction of gas will aggravate the situation, favourable to the EU countries, whereby the majority of the world’s gas reserves are on the Eurasian continent at the end of pipeline connections.

The availability and price of oil and gas are crucially influenced by competition for the same natural resources by China and other countries in the Far East, resources which hitherto have been almost exclusively used by the OECD countries.

Our group supports the Commission in its search for alternatives. There is no other solution which is as simple. If we continue with a policy of burning fossil fuels, the EU will need to establish good commercial relations with Russia.

Finally, let me say a word about ‘European solutions’. A policy that results in the price of electricity rising in some countries in order that it can come down in others is unacceptable. For some countries, this is a form of solidarity that is too expensive.


  Umberto Pirilli, on behalf of the UEN Group. – (IT) Mr President, Mr Piebalgs, ladies and gentlemen, what has happened in recent weeks with the Suez-Enel case and what is happening at the moment regarding E.on’s bid for Endesa, which has been blocked by the Spanish Government’s decree increasing the powers of the national energy council, confirms a regressionist tendency of the Member States with regard to the principles and rules on which the European Union is based.

Only yesterday, Mr Barroso said, ‘I hope that the heads of government will answer the question: do they have the political will to find European solutions to European problems?’

The energy problem has been examined by the Commission in all its aspects in a valuable, almost point-by-point analysis, which I do not want to go into here because it is well known to all. In the joint resolution tabled by the Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and the Union for Europe of the Nations Group concerns are voiced that all European citizens today share, and solutions are put forward that a majority of citizens and Member States would like to see.

On one point, however, the proposal is deficient, and that is in relation to the decision-making centres. How many are there, and which are they? In yesterday’s statement, again, Mr Barroso spoke of the existence of 25 different energy markets and 25 different policies in the sector. In addition to this devastating statistic with regard to the hoped-for converging policies of the EU, there is the need to guarantee the physical security of Europe’s energy infrastructure against the risks of natural disasters and terrorist attacks, as well as its security against political risks, including interruptions of supply.

The question I put to each and every one of us is: ‘Can Europe be governed by 25 different governments, or has the moment perhaps been reached when European strategy regarding foreign policy, security and energy should have a single decision-making centre in order to be able to deal in a timely and consistent manner with the challenges now thrown up by the fast-moving modern world?’


  Bastiaan Belder, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group. (NL) Mr President, recent interruptions to the energy supply have resulted in a renewed awareness of the vulnerability of imported energy. Energy is essential to every country. What lessons can we learn about security of supply?

It is now a fact that energy policy and foreign policy are inter-related. The European Union has to beware of pressure from energy-producing countries, and if it is to do that, then greater diversification of energy suppliers is a political necessity.

Furthermore, the crisis situation involving Russia and Ukraine has made the option of importing liquid natural gas from other regions a live issue once more. The fragile functioning of the internal market is also demanding our attention, and recent debate on the creation of national champions should not distract us from that. The Member States already possess powerful instruments to deal with issues of security of supply; in addition to drawing on a wider variety of sources of energy, they can also call more upon their emergency reserves.

Such measures, as well as enhanced cooperation between the Member States, enable us to move forward in ways in which a detailed European energy policy does not. Caution is also a prime requirement in concluding an energy agreement with Russia. Critical distance is preferable to further integration in the energy sector with countries with which our relations are less than stable.


  Luca Romagnoli (NI). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Europe’s dependence in the energy sector is worrying, as the Commission’s Green Paper shows. Italy is even more dependent in the energy field, as Enea and Istat data irrefutably confirm. Italy has an energy production capacity of only approximately 30 million tonnes of oil equivalent and has to import energy from abroad, and its dependency has grown to about 85% in 2005 as against 83% in 2001 and 81% in 1995.

Within the European Union, only Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal are more energy-dependent than Italy. Italy’s energy needs are therefore strongly dependent on oil, which comprises 45%, and gas, comprising 32%. The rise in energy prices translates for everyone into greater expenditure on petrol and on electricity and gas bills, and environmental concerns also influence choices in this field, to the extent that the nuclear option is becoming topical again.

In order to combat energy dependence we have to make the supply system more flexible, rationalise the use of energy, distribute energy locally both with small conventional facilities and with renewables, and invest more in research: it seems that it is no longer possible to delay thermodynamic solar power, geothermic energy, the use of biomass, the introduction of new combined gas cycles in electricity generating systems and, lastly, the revival of nuclear power.

These are the issues and the challenges of the future, but we need to ask ourselves why Italy and Europe are still losing ground to Russia and, above all, to China. Gas and oil from Iran to China and Russia, energy flows and resources in which European companies have for decades invested a huge amount of research capital – all this has been wasted for the sake of servility to non-EU interests.

This means that Europe is once again missing a great opportunity for development, security and social well-being, and is increasing its dependence in terms of both energy and politics. Europe must find the courage to make geopolitical choices appropriate to its interests if it truly wishes to secure a future for its peoples. This is the kind of revolutionary action, above and beyond existing directives, that Europeans expect from the Commission and the Council.


  Jacek Emil Saryusz-Wolski (PPE-DE). – Mr President, energy, as we have recently witnessed, is also sometimes treated as a weapon for exerting political influence by states which enjoy a quasi-monopolistic position, as in the Russia/Ukraine case. That is what really triggered this sudden interest in energy policy. The problem should therefore be considered as a foreign and security policy issue and so, besides Commissioner Piebalgs, I would willingly address Mr Solana and Mrs Ferrero-Waldner.

It is essential for the EU to develop a true external security policy dimension in relation to gas and oil deliveries, which is distinct from energy policies sensu stricto. We should not mix them up. The question is, what added value can the EU offer in the event of politically motivated cuts in energy supplies? Proposals, as included in the Green Paper, go in the right direction, although they are still too modest. Solidarity, as one of the main principles of European integration, creates an obligation to assist all those Member States which are in difficulty. We must extend this solidarity principle to problems related to energy supply shortages caused by political action.

What is needed is cooperation and solidarity, not competition among Member States in securing external energy supplies, as happens today. The forthcoming Spring Council should, above all, consider three issues of utmost importance: first, mutual assistance among Member States in case of energy supply cuts; second, mutual consultation mechanisms among Member States for major gas and delivery contracts; and third, the inclusion of an energy security clause in all EU treaties with third countries, which are either a source of energy or a transit country. An energy security clause should impose an obligation to follow a certain code of conduct and to promise not to use energy delivery as an instrument of political pressure. The time has come to move beyond declarations.


  Pasqualina Napoletano (PSE). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, energy policy has a clear external dimension, which emerged dramatically in the January crisis between Russia and Ukraine. For its part, the European Union has in recent years put in place policies such as strategic cooperation with Russia, the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, the Neighbourhood Policy and the agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council. These relations involve the main oil and gas producing countries.

The energy issue has been tackled in a disjointed manner: from liberalisation of the markets to security of supply, efficiency and better use of resources. To date, all this has not looked like a structured policy. The European Council meeting tomorrow and the day after will tackle these issues, but European governments seem divided over whether we need to have a common policy or whether we should continue with bilateral relations based on historical, geographical or political factors.

As the European Parliament, we support the Commission’s efforts and at the same time ask for more. This will not be possible, however, without answers to some major questions. Are we intending to reduce overall dependence on fossil fuels? By how much? Are we able to estimate future needs on this point? Are we setting ourselves the target of coordinating demand with other importing countries, above all developing countries? Will we submit a single, unanimous proposal at the next G8 meeting in Saint Petersburg?

The answers to these questions presuppose something very like a European energy plan. The Green Paper constitutes a first step, but there is a lot more to be done and the European Parliament naturally wishes to be fully involved in this policy.


  Šarūnas Birutis (ALDE). – (LT) This resolution is a very important and timely document, expressing the European Parliament's position on the changing situation in the European Union energy sector. The resolution marks the beginning of the debate on the Green Paper for a safe, competitive and harmonious energy policy. Alongside energy consumption efficiency, the variety of energy sources mentioned in the resolution is the fundamental factor in reducing European Union states' dependence on the supply of energy resources from third countries. Significant attention is paid to the area of nuclear energy, as nuclear energy is an inseparable part of the European Union energy sector. It is very important for Lithuania and other states, which have insufficient wind, solar and geothermal power or other alternatives to gases and oils. It is right that initiative to develop nuclear energy should remain the prerogative of Member States. Legislation must be laid down so that part of the funding allocated to agricultural policy is available for biomass growth, production and energy needs. The principle of energy solidarity between Member States is extremely important. It is important in talks with the wider world. When planning energy sector projects, Member States should assess the consequences these will have on other countries. Therefore, I believe we should focus on revising the annexes of the TEN-E. The project list contains conflicting views of what I would call the political Northern Pipeline in the Baltic Sea. Unfortunately, it fails to mention any of the projects which are important for the Baltic countries and Poland, such as the ‘Amber’ pipeline or electricity connections, allowing the isolated Baltic region to be quickly switched into the European area.


  Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL).(EL) Mr President, I greatly fear that the Commission proposal on natural gas, which comes in the wake of the Russian/Ukrainian crisis, is not commensurate with circumstances or requirements. It is inadequate.

If we want to achieve the objectives set by the Commission, we need to invest more and more in drastically strengthening renewable sources of energy, in saving energy, in developing energy networks. With the budgets that you are preparing, these objectives cannot be achieved; we cannot make serious progress in constructing a common energy policy, we cannot achieve cheaper and better technology for renewable sources and energy savings with the money provided under the 7th framework programme for these objectives and, with the steps that you propose for the common energy policy, we cannot combat the practices of the cartels that rule – live and rule – at the expense of consumers and of a unified Europe in energy matters.

One more thing: renewable sources of energy are one thing and nuclear energy is another. Do not try to put everything in one basket and use renewable sources of energy like a big curtain to cover the truth, which is that a large proportion of European citizens feel anything from reservations to opposition to the use of nuclear energy and that cannot be made to disappear with a magic wand.


  Konrad Szymański (UEN).(PL) Mr President, the reliability of energy supplies to the European Union is dwindling with each passing month as our reliance on imported energy grows. The only thing we can afford to lose in this respect are unreliable and unpredictable partners. Their role on the European energy market should be kept within safe boundaries.

To the surprise of many – but by no means all – European countries, Russia has recently proved to be one such unreliable partner. Russia’s supplies have recently become restricted because of climatic conditions in Siberia, the lack of security for pipelines in the north of the country and the uncontrollable urge to use energy as a means of exerting political pressure on the country’s western-oriented neighbours.

For this reason energy cooperation cannot be confined to countries within the European Union. Our energy problems come precisely from outside the European Union. However, some of the solutions also lie outside the European Union, for example the Norwegian oil fields, which is why not only energy policy, but also trans-European networks should transcend the boundaries of the European Union. This is why an enhanced neighbourhood policy should incorporate energy, and this is why the Polish proposal for an energy pact based on solidarity, and boldly transcending the boundaries of the European Union, should be the subject of more serious discussion at the coming summit.

Energy security is above all a matter of foreign and defence policy. It is naïve to pretend that new sources of energy or the imposition of restrictions on industry, such as climate agreements, are the solution. For a long time to come, renewable sources of energy will remain an expensive addition to our energy resources. Imposing excessively severe restrictions on European industry, often on the basis of dubious scientific assumptions, is a factor restricting our competitiveness.




  Gerard Batten (IND/DEM). – Mr President, the EU’s shambolic liberalisation of the energy market has already resulted in gross distortions. Good Europeans, like Britain, diligently liberalise their markets but bad Europeans, like France and Germany, have refused to do so.

Liberalisation has directly resulted in enormous increases in the wholesale gas price in the UK. The EU has added more than GBP 200 per annum to the average UK gas bill. Now the EU wants a common energy policy so it can get its hands on what remains of Britain’s gas and oil reserves. Mr Chichester asks how the Council and Commission will react to developments in the world energy market and how supplies will be secured: it is the right question, but it has been put to the wrong people. He should be putting it to the British Government.

The Conservative Party, in the form of Mr Chichester, is yet again inviting the European Union to meddle further and deeper in Britain’s affairs. Britain should follow the example of France and Germany and protect its own national interests and those of its domestic energy consumers.


  Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President, over the coming days, the Heads of State or Government will debate the possibility of launching a common energy policy.

Both the governments and the citizens have become aware of the seriousness of the situation, of the vulnerability of our system of supply, of our dependence on imports and of our urgent need to take measures which are a match for the circumstances.

The European Parliament fully shares the citizens’ concerns and we in this House must therefore send a clear and strong message in favour of energy independence for the Union.

To this end, we must support a complete energy mix, with a prominent role for emission-free energy sources, such as nuclear and renewable energy. The time has come seriously to consider the possibility of investing in alternative supply routes, in order to reduce the impact of situations such as the recent crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

On the supply side, we must place the emphasis on improving energy efficiency at all levels of consumption and production. In this regard, the dissemination of information and good practices is crucial.

We must take a firm position in favour of a genuine free internal energy market, improving infrastructures and interconnections and leaving behind once and for all the outmoded notion of great national champions.

We are in the 21st Century, in an increasingly integrated European Union, and this is not the time to move backwards. Let there be no mistake: protectionism does not just harm our economies and our competitiveness, but above all it harms the consumer. In a globalised world, the national giants are minnows at world level, and Europeanist speeches are of little use if, when it comes to making decisions, words have not been followed up with concrete actions.

I shall end, Mr President, by calling upon the Council not to miss this opportunity.


  Reino Paasilinna (PSE). – (FI) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, we are caught up in a persistent energy crisis. The reason is obvious: the gap between consumption and supply is so narrow that almost anything can make prices soar. This can happen, for example, as a result of a storm on the other side of the ocean, and many other things.

We have a good solution to this problem: energy cooperation within the Union. That, however, is being prevented by an ‘anti-solidarity movement’ on the part of certain Member States, which has actually grown among the founding members. They do not permit competition in their own countries, but they buy up energy companies in other countries using this idle money. Nothing is achieved this way. They also did the same in the telecommunications sector, when the telecom markets were to be opened up. As a consequence, we had buyers from abroad once again.

If we in the European Union do not show solidarity, we can forget about the energy solutions which are being discussed here. One condition of a common energy policy is to have shared objectives, which our leaders commit to and which they do not simply take advantage of, as is now the case.

How should this be achieved? I suggest that Finland should hold an energy summit, where government leaders can agree on a modus operandi. By doing this we can steer a path away from a situation in which we are continually crisis-prone. Finland could organise the meeting as a favour, especially since the question of Russian energy is very relevant there, something that many Members have alluded to. We have long experience in this area. The Russian energy dialogue, which has made rather poor progress and is fairly secret because the Council hardly ever participates in it, could be linked to the summit at the same time. That way we could kill two birds with one stone and increase solidarity.


  Fiona Hall (ALDE). – Mr President, I am pleased the joint resolution is balanced and not a knee-jerk reaction. Energy has shot up the political agenda, but geo-political initiatives are only one part of tackling the security of supply problem. The way forward still lies largely in our own backyard. We need to tackle the demand side of the equation by putting real effort into implementing energy efficiency measures and by developing indigenous sources of energy, particularly renewables. This is underlined by the paragraphs on sustainable energy sources and amplified by a number of amendments which we in the ALDE Group will be supporting.

Even on the issue of gas supply, much of the answer lies close to home. Heavy industrial users in the north-east of England have had to fight to get hold of gas supplies even at inflated prices because the market is simply not working. The Spring Council tomorrow needs to bite the bullet and name and shame those Member States who have failed to open up their gas markets.


  Diamanto Manolakou (GUE/NGL).(EL) Mr President, the supply of energy and the use of all sources of energy are a political option which must aim to take a combined approach to all grass-roots requirements, such as reducing energy dependency, saving energy, ensuring residents are safe, protecting the environment and safeguarding energy products as a social – not a commercial – commodity.

The European Union is promoting the policy of liberalisation by sacrificing the satisfaction of grass-roots requirements to the profitability of private investors. The Green Paper comes within this framework of competitiveness and the anti-grass roots Lisbon Strategy and even uses renewable sources of energy as a vehicle for introducing private capital into the energy sector. Citing environmental protection is hypocritical and conceals the spiritual objectives of the European Union concerning the speeding up of liberalisation, the promotion of the relevant Community products and the restriction of dependency on imported fuel.

A way out could be found through a single energy agency which would belong to the people and would function within the framework of an economy with nationalised basic means of production. This would address the crucial issues and ensure that energy is a social, not a commercial commodity.


  Zbigniew Krzysztof Kuźmiuk (UEN).(PL) Mr President, Poland is particularly susceptible to policies that exploit supplies of natural gas and crude oil to the country as a means of exerting political pressure. Such policies are implemented by the main supplier of these fuels, namely Russia. That is the reason behind the Polish Government’s initiative, which has been submitted to the European institutions and which would enable us to implement a solution to the problem of energy security based on the principle of ‘one for all and all for one’, or in other words the principle of solidarity. Unfortunately this initiative was received rather coolly by the largest EU Member States, as most of them are trying to push through solutions that benefit themselves, even if it is at the cost of other Member States.

A perfect illustration of such a policy is the construction of the northern gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea, following an agreement between Russia and Germany. Although this will indeed greatly improve Germany’s energy security in the future, it will threaten the economic interests and energy security of countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and others outside the European Union, such as Ukraine.

What is required is therefore concerted action by the Member States, or in other words a common energy policy. This is why the Polish initiative I mentioned earlier merits serious debate.


  Elmar Brok (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, Mr President-in-Office, I want to talk, not about energy policy as such, but about the foreign and security policy actions associated with it. In view of the fact that Russia, it seems, is using energy as a political weapon this winter, and in view of the situation in the Middle East, we need to realise that the issue of security of energy supply is an extremely problematic matter, more so than we have experienced in a long time. For this reason, we need to develop and implement a number of things in close cooperation between the Committee on Foreign Affairs and your committee, Mr Chichester; for example, we need to call on Russia to finally settle the Energy Charter and to ratify it, in order to guarantee energy security.

We must make it clear – perhaps through foreign policy measures, but also by promoting competition – that there must be a difference in ownership between the producers and the suppliers who own the pipelines, in order not, for example, to make Gazprom even more likely to be not only the biggest producer but also to control the supply chain and thus to hold all the trumps.

I think we need to work much more closely with Ukraine and the southern Caucasus to modernise and develop energy networks. In particular, though, I think that we need networking within the European Union – networking that is not aimed against anybody, that is not an 'Energy NATO', but instead forms an internal network ensuring that, if someone wants to cut a country off, that country is automatically supplied by all the other countries. Why would those countries then not be cut off? Because this would be too expensive for the country of supply, particularly as it would then have no revenue at all.

I think that solidarity clauses comparable with the NATO Treaty are the wrong way to go; what we need is a network of solidarity that is not aimed against others, and it is through such networks that we need to organise internal solidarity in practical terms.

I would therefore quite particularly like to say that the previous German Government's decision to construct this pipeline under the Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland and the Baltic states, was a poor one. As an example for such networking, we need to ensure that there are branches, for example going to Poland, so as to ensure security. Looking at the situation of the Baltic states, they too need to be given the opportunity for secure energy supplies, in case there are no more supplies from Russia. We need to resolve this internally, too; this is something we need to discuss.


  Mechtild Rothe (PSE). – (DE) Mr President, I should like to start by thanking Mr Winkler and Commissioner Piebalgs for their contributions. I agree with you that it is absolutely essential that we follow a true common energy policy.

The question should be not whether, but how we can realise a European energy policy that meets the aims of security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability. One part of this – as some Members have already mentioned – is an internal market for energy with truly fair competition, and we know that we are still a long way from achieving that. I had actually expected a rather clearer statement from you in that respect. (Can I just ask why the clock is not running? I cannot tell how much time I have left.)

You both emphasised the need to further develop renewable energy. I wholeheartedly agree with that. At the same time, though, I had hoped for some more specific proposals. As you know, we currently have targets only up to 2010: targets for electricity, for biofuels and for energy as a whole. As you also know, the European Parliament has called for a target of 20% by 2020.

The Commission's Green Paper raises the question of whether new targets should be set at all. If I understand correctly, the Council is currently discussing a new target of 15% by 2015, which is clearly a step backwards. It would be more important to take a really good look into ensuring that we can achieve our target for 2010 – 12% of total energy consumption coming from renewable energy. It is therefore very important and necessary for what you, Commissioner Piebalgs, announced to Parliament to happen, namely for a directive on heating and cooling from renewable energy to be proposed, as it is precisely in this area that there are deficiencies.

This is of the utmost importance, if we are to move ahead on energy security. Germany's example makes it very clear: Germany's phasing out of nuclear power means that 33 billion kilowatt hours will have to be replaced by 2010. According to current forecasts, by 2010 51 billion kilowatt hours will be produced from renewable energy sources. To date, reality has always exceeded the forecasts with regard to renewable energy sources.

Therefore, to those who say that atomic energy is so important, I say this: we have the opportunity to replace this energy source. We also need to do so, because it is a non-renewable source and we are completely dependent on imports of uranium. In addition, it is vital to use energy efficiency. You both referred to this, and I really hope, Commissioner Piebalgs, that the energy efficiency plan you will present will be an ambitious one.


  Patrizia Toia (ALDE). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, it is definitely time for Europe to have a comprehensive, complete strategy for energy, in which, Mr Piebalgs and Mr Winkler, we would ask for Parliament to have a central role. An essential part of this strategy is the creation of a single European market and a consistent EU policy.

Today, liberalisation has arrived in the individual national markets, but that is not enough. In the energy field some countries have gone beyond the monopoly philosophy but others have not. If we restrict ourselves solely to calling for the completion of individual national markets, we will end up with an asymmetric and therefore weak European market. It will be internally weak, in other words incapable of correcting those distortions that are well known to us, those limitations that have been analysed in our reports. It will also be externally weak, because it will be incapable of having any bargaining power with consumer countries. In addition, there is also a great risk that it will become a victim, as an amendment to our resolution puts it, of new oligopolies that may form among the world’s producing areas.

The second vital point is that, in the energy mix that we must achieve, we must determine not just national choices but European objectives and corresponding reference indicators on energy saving and efficiency. We expected the Council to be bolder in its choice of objectives and infrastructure as well as research policy. These are European objectives of a Community energy policy.


  Jerzy Buzek (PPE-DE).(PL) Mr President, I should like to mention a couple of technical points after the political comments that have been made. Energy crises always arise in Europe because of a shortage of supplies of two energy sources, namely gas and oil. We are not self-sufficient in these, which leaves us with two options. The first is to create more of our own European sources of energy, and the second is to diversify supplies.

Creating more energy of our own requires above all research and development, greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy. We forget that Europe has vast reserves of lignite and hard coal. I cannot understand why clean coal technologies have been completely ignored in our parliamentary resolution. Others have had research and commercial programmes in this field for years. Nuclear energy is another necessity, especially with the threat of the greenhouse effect. More resources for research and new technologies should be a clear demand of the European Parliament.

The second issue I should like to address is the diversification of supplies. We have not yet made use of the vast resources of one of our neighbours, Ukraine. Yesterday evening, not far from here in Solvay, the Ukrainian Government gave a presentation of the country’s potential – the largest natural gas reserves in Europe and gas and oil transit pipelines from Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea, which are independent of Gazprom. All this could be the subject of cooperation between the European Union and Ukraine. It means leaving Ukrainian pipelines in the hands of Ukrainians. It requires investment, construction and repair of pipelines, and we, the European Union, must help Ukraine in these tasks. We have the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, trans-European networks and an enhanced neighbourhood policy at our disposal to do so. We would become more secure and demonstrate greater solidarity, and we would have a firm base for a common energy policy for the European Union.


  Adam Gierek (PSE).(PL) Mr President, the EU’s energy policy has two dimensions: the external or geopolitical dimension, and a domestic dimension, because energy security also means the rational use of energy.

At present, Europe needs to organise its own energy potential and to improve the use of this latter by increasing thermodynamic efficiency. Examples of how this could be achieved include modern thermal insulation of buildings and other structures, modernisation and a more widespread use of diversified sources of heat and electrical energy, particularly in the new EU Member States which have vast cogeneration and energy conservation potential, and sensible use of renewable energy sources, especially biomass. At the same time, however, I believe that the use of biomass to generate electricity is a mistake.

By building cross-border networks, the enlarged European Union can tap into the considerable time differences between its easternmost and westernmost borders in order to ease peak loads on electricity networks, and it could also exploit seasonal temperature differences along its north-south axis.

The energy used to generate national income also needs to be further reduced, and this must be reflected in customs policy. It is therefore incomprehensible why a customs duty of 6% should be levied on highly energy-intensive primary aluminium. Importing such aluminium is tantamount to importing energy, which the European Union would then save.


  Herbert Reul (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I have the impression that the new situation since the beginning of this year has made it clear to everybody that energy is important not only for economic development in Europe. It is also increasingly clear that we are short of energy and that political dependencies are developing that obviously were not foreseen on this scale by a large part of society.

However, this crisis also provides us with a huge opportunity, in that we are now finally discussing energy issues objectively and sensibly, and we might be able to come down from our trees, put old battles behind us and stop parading dogmas. That does however mean – and this is where I have a lot of questions about what the Commission has put forward – that we need to stand back and take stock. What is the situation, what opportunities are there, how much is there, where is it, where are the risks, where is the potential? I am more or less certain that we will not find an answer with one single solution. It will not be the case, and it never has been. But we must make a combined effort to discuss all the issues openly and to find broad-based solutions.

We cannot, as our fellow-Member from Poland has just said, do without current coal resources – that is out of the question. We do need to consider how we can use it cleanly, but we absolutely cannot do without it. We cannot ignore any potential sources – including renewable ones. However, we must also be honest enough to recognise that there are limits to their potential and that they will not solve our supply problems. I therefore also think that we cannot get around the fact, to be honest, that we cannot do without nuclear power. Our motto cannot be 'no coal, no nuclear power, but everything CO2 free and environmentally friendly'.

I believe we need to stop debating on the basis of dreams and dogmas. We need a realistic and sensible debate. We owe it to our children to ensure that they will still have energy in the future, and enough of it, because it is a vital precondition for prosperity in our countries in Europe.

I also think it is immoral that we are buying up all the energy potential in the world, because we have the resources to do so, when we could be leaving the countries that do not have the resources – by which I mean the developing countries – at the end of their tether. We have a duty also to use modern technology. The use of nuclear power is, for us, a matter of moral obligation.


  Katerina Batzeli (PSE).(EL) Mr President, there is no longer any doubt as to the importance of Community subsidies in new and more energy-efficient technologies for renewable sources of energy. Moreover, by promoting differentiation as to the types of energy source, including wind and solar energy, the countries of origin and the passage through countries, we shall help to bring about new conditions for development, finding employment and strengthening sustainable development.

I should also like in this direction to highlight and emphasise support for the production of biomass by drawing up national action plans which will safeguard the economic and entrepreneurial certainty and confidence of investors and producers and, at the same time, provide a way out of agricultural production. It should also be emphasised that the harmonisation of the internal market in the energy sector should target the protection of consumers and not impose more costs on them. These are policies which cannot be safeguarded from the operation of oligopoly concentrations.

Finally, I should like to say, in connection with strengthening investments in new, more environmentally-friendly forms of energy, that the promotion can be achieved of a green tax, a tax in which nuclear energy is not and cannot be included.

Mr President, Commissioner, throughout the ages and even now, major conflicts and wars have taken place for two purposes: firstly for energy and secondly for water. Europe must stand and confront this international problem with stable policies.


  Charles Tannock (PPE-DE). – Mr President, energy security and diversification of the source of supply has dramatically risen up the political agenda this year following the use of the ‘gas weapon’ by Gazprom against Ukraine and Moldova over the New Year period. It is no longer a technical matter confined to technocrats and has become as much a part of the CFSP as the remit of energy ministers.

As rapporteur for the European Neighbourhood Policy, I was very conscious that many of the member countries – e.g. Algeria and Azerbaijan – were producers of oil and gas, and others were central to the pipeline transit systems of fuel to western Europe, such as Ukraine. I have repeatedly made a case for a stable Kazakhstan to join the ENP, as it is eager to get away from the risk of economic and political dominance by Russia and China and could indeed supply not just oil and gas but also uranium to the European Union, as we will inevitably have to build more nuclear reactors to satisfy Kyoto and not be over-reliant on unstable regions of the world –such as the Middle East, Venezuela or Nigeria, to name but a few – for fossil fuels.

I respect the anti-nuclear countries, such as Austria and Ireland, but new technologies such as transmutation, will, I believe, one day solve the long-term, high-radiation waste concerns of the general public.

Obviously, a lot also needs to be done by the Member States – preferably through intergovernmental cooperation – to work towards more energy efficiency, to develop more technologies in the form of renewables, but also to interconnect their electricity grids in a pan-European system, which will drive down prices and allow spare capacity. There is also a need to connect the existing oil and gas pipelines between the EU Member States. Spain is apparently virtually self-sufficient but isolated in this respect, and the Baltic countries are too reliant on connections to Russia, but have now agreed, much to their credit, to a new nuclear power station between themselves.

I also believe Russia must be encouraged to join the Energy Charter to prevent it from stopping third countries using its pipelines. There is also a clear gap in that the International Energy Agency allows only for strategic oil reserves, not for gas reserves. Some Member States of the European Union seem to have no reserves at all.


  Toomas Hendrik Ilves (PSE). – (ET) First of all, I would like to remind us all why this matter is being discussed here today. At the beginning of this year, the gas dispute which flared up between Ukraine and Russia demonstrated how very vulnerable the European energy system is, and more importantly, how energy can be used as an extremely powerful political instrument.

The Ukraine-Russia gas dispute showed that if a country has a suitable leader, such as Lukashenko, it will get cheap energy from Russia. If the country’s chosen course does not suit Russia, as in the case of Ukraine, then it will not get cheap energy. The effects of this policy have sent shockwaves through the entire European energy system.

As long as the European Union lacks a common energy policy, and as long as each Member State or head of government tries to secure for itself the best possible deal with a company in a large country outside the European Union, we will remain dependents, and victims of deals made on the side.

Europe needs a common energy policy just as we need our common trade policy, which makes the European Union extremely effective in negotiations. Just imagine what position Germany or France, not to mention my own small country of Estonia, would be in if they were to be on their own in negotiations with the USA or China at the WTO. The present state of affairs, however, in which each country is responsible for its own energy supply and concludes bilateral agreements, is no different from that situation.

In addition to all of this, there is the fact that the two gas pipelines which are planned to be built between Russia and China could threaten supply altogether.

If you owe the bank 100 000 euros, the bank owns you. If, however, you owe the bank 100 million euros, you own the bank. The same applies to energy. With a disunited energy policy, we depend on the political whim of one country’s state monopoly. A common energy policy, however, would be decided by Europe itself.


  Ján Hudacký (PPE-DE). – (SK) In relation to EU geopolitical strategy, I would like to point out the important (albeit well-known) fact that most of the new Member States are totally dependant on supplies of oil and gas from Russia, and in this respect differ from many of the old Member States, whose fuel supplies are more diversified. In this context, I am sure it will not be necessary to recount the recent negative consequences of dependence experienced by Ukraine.

The new member countries observe the handling of fuel supply security issues with particular sensitivity. In the rush to catch up with the economic performance levels of the old Member States, security of energy supply is becoming an ever more pressing issue. With regard to electricity supply in particular, a number of new Member States have inherited an energy supply mix dominated by nuclear energy generation. I, for one, think that the subsidiarity principle should apply to the development of this type of energy. However, I cannot disregard the solidarity principle, which should enable individual Member States to develop this type of energy without at least being exposed to negative external interference. I welcome the Commission’s initiative to support research in this area aimed at improving further the safety of nuclear power generation, for example through research into recycling or nuclear fusion technologies and other related fields. I must, however, emphasise that the new financial perspective lacks sufficient funding for this research in particular.

The Green Paper on energy policy focuses more on renewable energy sources. I have no major reservations with that. However, the Commission must act responsibly and accept the fact that some Member States would like to continue developing nuclear energy in the future, for two reasons in particular. Firstly, the potential for developing renewable energy sources is not great in those countries, and as such it is not possible to count on the long-term sustainability of these sources; secondly, those countries have had very positive experiences with nuclear energy, which is safe, environmentally friendly and sustainable in the long run.


  Eluned Morgan (PSE). – Mr President, I welcome this resolution as a recognition that there is indeed an energy crisis in Europe. I can tell you that, as a MEP representing the United Kingdom – where gas prices are three times the price of gas in the Netherlands and where factories have been warned that they may have to close for a while due to gas shortages. The single European energy market does not work. The answer is not to retract into narrow nationalism, but to cooperate and make the system work better. We need to develop the common European energy policy.

Hurricane Katrina and Gazprom/Russia’s recent behaviour are two major incidents which have forced our hands on this issue. Since the encouraging noises that we heard in Hampton Court, I am afraid we have seen some disappointing new moves from the Member States: their continuing failure to implement current existing legislation in this field; price-fixing in the energy market; new protectionism and the establishment of new national champions. None of this bodes well for the forthcoming meeting tomorrow where we hope we do not see more back-pedalling by the Council.

This is the first time that we in Parliament have had a chance to comment on the Green Paper. Our first initial reaction must be one of disappointment: there are no new targets and no concrete proposals to establish a common energy policy. There is no way you are going to get investment of one trillion euro without more long-term planning.

This paper entirely ducks the issue of transport and aviation and their contribution to the energy debate. It needs a lot of work by Parliament. I hope that we will be able to cooperate in this field and that we do not need a third serious incident to make the Member States realise we have to act in this field.


  Vytautas Landsbergis (PPE-DE). – Mr President, security of supply as a formula for a real problem should contain concrete eventualities of insecurities, which should also be listed specifically. We should provide measures on how to cope even if there is a bombing of pipelines or electricity transmission wires. Both have been experienced recently by Georgia, where nobody was in any doubt about the political masterminding behind these acts. There are also categories of natural catastrophe able to interrupt supply. The document on the security of energy supply in Europe avoids mentioning Europe’s preparedness for such disasters, let alone any blasts in one’s mind affecting supply. A potential attacker when eager to use energy as a weapon may be stopped only by the knowledge that his move brings no political gains and only drawbacks for himself, while the targeted state is immediately assisted and compensated by actions of communal solidarity of the Union.

That is what we should work on without any delay. The resolution omits this. As we are now debating security versus insecurity, there is also the real environmental insecurity related with building a pipeline and supplying the West in such a vulnerable way as via the bottom of the Baltic Sea. There is a strange silence about chemical shells and bombs from World War II lying in huge quantities, rusting and waiting for their own Armageddon.

As the clock is ticking this mechanical work of building of pipelines may move ever faster towards an enormous disaster. Who would suffer? Nobody, but some unimportant smaller nations on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. Who is giving guarantees to us Baltic nations about both energy and biological survival? Germany? Commissioners of the split Union? We have a right to expect proper policies and concrete European guarantees. Only then will Europe have the reason to use the word solidarity.


  Gunnar Hökmark (PPE-DE). – (SV) Mr President, in relation to our common European task where energy policy is concerned, there are two things that are important to define and that I think we have to clarify.

The first is that one of our obvious joint tasks is to guarantee that the internal market operates properly. There are now already a lot of obstacles to its doing so. We have to do everything from ensuring that companies can grow together across borders to making sure that the internal market can operate both legally and technically.

We need common networks because they offer a way of achieving many of the objectives we have in common. Through common networks, we obtain more competition and lower prices. If renewable fuels are to be given scope to develop, we need a larger market where they can also be marketed and developed on a commercial basis. Through common networks we can reduce our vulnerability and, at the same time, have the opportunity of obtaining access to safe and cheap electricity.

The second joint task where energy policy is concerned obviously relates to matters covered by both foreign policy and trade policy. In these areas, too, I again believe that, when it comes to solidarity between our countries, it is crucial for us to have the common networks. We can talk about solidarity and solidarity clauses however much we like but, basically, the fact is that it is only through common networks that it will be possible for countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – or any other country that may be exposed to political blackmail - successfully to achieve solidarity in practice. Such solidarity will then become a reality and not just a set of political objectives.

In foreign policy and trade policy, any cooperation with Russia must be based on clear and transparent conditions governing trade and distribution. The EU must support a policy that leads to Russia undertaking to deliver energy sources under secure conditions to each individual Member State. In that way, we should obtain a sound energy policy, solidarity and a better Europe.


  Peter Liese (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, Europe is too dependent on fossil fuels. The last few weeks have made it clearer than ever that this has to stop. Prices are increasing dramatically for industry and for private consumers. There is no real security of supply, and there is no guarantee that our current energy supplies are sustainable in climate terms. This morning, Mrs Morgan spoke about Katrina. There have been a whole series of other hurricanes, and the scientists tell us that this is very probably a symptom of climate change.

That is why we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. I think three things are decisive. The first is nuclear power: we must not shut down safe nuclear power stations just for political reasons. I therefore advocate adopting the amendment proposed by the Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats on this point. I find it regrettable that the German Chancellor, Mrs Merkel, could not say so in her speech this morning because we are in a coalition with the social democrats, but I am pleased that the social democrats here in the European Parliament are beginning to reconsider; perhaps in a year's time Mrs Merkel will be able to defend nuclear power on behalf of the entire Federal Government.

There is a range of other points that Mrs Merkel and all of us can support, and she will do so in her main speech at tomorrow's summit: we need energy efficiency. Energy is being wasted in Europe, and we cannot let it continue. We need an efficient expansion of renewable energy. It is vital that we use more renewable energy, but we need to do it without long-term subsidies. I would therefore point once again to this House’s demand for a directive on heating and cooling. This is an area in which there is a very great deal of potential, and in which costs are relatively low, and we should therefore move towards the delivery phase quickly.

I support this resolution because it contains these demands and because it encourages the Commission and the Council to move more quickly on this matter.


  Renato Brunetta (PPE-DE). – (IT) Mr President, Mr Piebalgs, ladies and gentlemen, in order to create a common energy policy the Commission must first of all bring to completion the liberalisation of the gas and electricity market. Enough of asymmetry, enough of rogues. The Commission must combat all measures designed to block the free circulation of capital, avoiding all forms of distortion of competition caused by governments’ protectionist support of ‘national champions’; your own credibility depends on it, Mr Piebalgs.

Energy, as is well known, is both a production factor and a consumer good, and both are essential for the development of our economy and for maintaining high standards of living. The common energy policy, together with a common foreign policy, are the tools with which to achieve these goals in our enlarged Europe. This is the political question – will we be able to do this?

Europe is divided into two camps: those who trust Russia and those who are hypercritical of it, even though we depend almost exclusively on its energy resources. In the European energy market Russia is an unavoidable supplier, to which we should not, however, remain too tightly bound. Diversification of energy supply is, therefore, essential, and it is vital to find European solutions in the supply sphere. In short, we must speak with one voice – will we be able to do this?

Diversifying supply sources seems a mandatory response, just like improving the networks for transporting energy, the gas pipelines and the ports. It is important to develop an energy dimension in the European Union’s strategy and security and to increase public and private investment in alternative energies and renewables. Will we be able to do this?

In brief, an energy policy as a fundamental component of the new Europe – this is the message to give to our citizens; will we be able to do this?


  Avril Doyle (PPE-DE). – Mr President, when the lights went out in California, in Turin and even in my own home town of Wexford – not to mention the recent Gazprom incident – there was a sudden concentration of minds on the security of energy supply, which is of critical importance to us both strategically and economically, particularly with energy import dependency and costs growing exponentially. As the recent Green Paper on energy policy tells us, unless we can make our domestic energy more competitive in the next couple of decades, 70% of the Union’s energy requirements will have to be met by imported products, compared to a figure of only 50% today. Most of this is from regions threatened by geopolitical instability.

This figure, however, masks the higher energy import dependency of peripheral and geographically isolated energy markets such as the Baltics, Ireland and other island communities. In Ireland, we have gone from 65% dependency on imported energy in 1990 to over 90% dependency today, and rising. Our indigenous fossil fuel supplies – peat and natural gas – have been rapidly depleting since 1995, while record economic and industrial growth has pushed up demand.

While the energy mix must continue to remain a Member State competence, in a single market, an attack on one is an attack on all in energy terms. Solidarity within the EU will be vital in securing equitably distributed supplies from outside our borders, through the completion of a competitive, integrated, internal energy market. This cannot happen without additional physical capacity, in the form of trans-European energy networks, to connect us all to a European grid.

Within each Member State, effective ‘unbundling’ of network and supply activities in gas and electricity must be made a reality: in Ireland this has yet to happen.

Through EU-level and Member state incentives, we must seriously target the development and mainstreaming of the 21 types of renewables, not least because of our obligations in relation to climate change. I get the impression that, especially where biofuels are concerned, there is no lack of interest: the research and investment communities are circling, but afraid to take a leap in the dark. Talk, goodwill and interest are not enough; we need serious financial and regulatory catalysts to increase research and roll out the development of pilot projects using cutting-edge renewable technologies.

The decoupling of economic growth and energy consumption and the whole story of demand side management cannot be ignored. World energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions are expected to rise by 60% by 2030. By increasing energy efficiency measures alone by 2020, we can reduce demand by over 20%.

Commissioner, do not wait until the lights go out again! Let us act now and keep energy security at the top of the political agenda in peacetime.


  Romana Jordan Cizelj (PPE-DE).(SL) Energy is fundamental to our activities, and is central to our success in the implementation of the policies we have set out. The situation in the field of energy will determine in no small measure how we accomplish the goals of the Lisbon Strategy and indeed whether we accomplish them at all.

Commissioner, you are aware of this state of affairs, which is why you brought things forward and published the Green Paper on a common European Energy Policy earlier this month. It is indeed high time that we sought answers to these questions: how do we ensure secure and adequate energy supplies at competitive prices, and at the same time care for the environment? How should our energy mix be formulated in the future? How stable are the areas from which we can import energy resources? What is their current cost and how much will they cost in the future? How does their use affect the environment, and so on?

Our answers to these questions must be a realistic assessment of the contribution of primary energy sources in the overall European energy mix, and an honest evaluation of the effectiveness of existing technologies and the potential of new, evolving technologies, and the natural resources of the Member States must also be considered. The time has come for us to avoid political rhetoric and to face up to the real state of affairs.

I would particularly like to point out that nuclear energy cannot and should not be a taboo subject in the European political arena. Right now nuclear energy produces no greenhouse gas emissions, it allows us to import uranium from a variety of countries, including those that are politically stable, and it is for this very reason that it enjoys a stable and competitive price. Future research and development work is expected to improve its efficiency, reduce the amount of radioactive waste and increase safety. It must now occupy a place commensurate with these factors both in European strategic documents and in the taking of concrete measures.


  Hans Winkler, President-in-Office of the Council. (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, this debate today was a very important one in view of tomorrow's Council and in view of the very intensive discussions on the issue of energy that the Heads of State or Government will be having tomorrow, and I should very much like to thank all those who have taken part in it. I do not have the time to respond to everything that has been said – and some very important things have been – but I would just like to mention a few points by way of conclusion.

Mr Rübig was quite right to say that a more comprehensive debate is needed on this problem and that all fields of activity in the European Union must concern themselves with energy. The Presidency is aware of this, and is of course working together with the Commission in this respect; at this point I should quite particularly like to thank Commissioner Piebalgs for his cooperation right from the start. I think he was the first Commissioner we worked closely with, and I am very grateful to him for that.

However, the Member States also need to get involved, because only a joint effort will bring us to our goal of security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability, which must be the main focus points of European energy policy.

Europe must speak with one voice to third countries when it comes to energy policy. That has been stressed by a number of speakers. Mr Brunetta said it, as did Mr Brok, the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. That, too, is particularly important and is a task to which we must apply ourselves.

Mr Goebbels and Commissioner Piebalgs both referred to solidarity. Solidarity is indeed a quite essential factor, and tomorrow the Heads of State or Government will acknowledge this in their declaration and in the conclusions they adopt. Mr Goebbels called for a politique énergique plus solidaire, and that is a good phrase.

Mr Turmes has already anticipated what the Heads of State or Government will say tomorrow. I have to admit that I do not know: perhaps others are better informed. But there is one thing I can say: tomorrow's energy debate has been thoroughly prepared, including by the energy ministers and the General Affairs and External Relations Council. Of course, we do not know what the text adopted by the Heads of State or Government will ultimately look like, but it will – I can assume – contain some very important things. It will not be a declaration of national interests; rather, a European energy policy is going to be adopted tomorrow. That much we can already say.

Mrs Ek mentioned the need to maintain competition. I would like to refer you, first of all, to the debate ten days ago in Strasbourg, where I, on behalf of the Council, along with the Commissioner responsible for competition, mentioned very clearly that we are very much in favour, and that we need to maintain the rules of competition, especially in the field of energy. I would like to mention a small paragraph on the energy policy for Europe. The paragraph dealing with exactly what you asked about points out that in fulfilling its main objectives, the energy policy for Europe should ensure transparency and non-discriminatory markets; be consistent with competition rules; be consistent with public service obligations and fully respect Member States’ sovereignty over primary energy sources and choice of energy mix.

(DE) Much of that has also been said here, and I can only confirm and emphasise it.

Mrs Rothe called for specific targets for the expansion of renewable energy sources, and on that I totally agree with her. The Austrian Presidency is very committed, and very ambitious. As this debate has shown, however, there is a lack of agreement on many points. A coherent, consistent energy policy for Europe cannot be built overnight.

It is important for the Heads of State or Government to give a significant stimulus tomorrow, and for the Member States, the Council and the Commission then to build on the principles drawn up and adopted tomorrow, so that we ultimately achieve what we all want: security of supply, greater efficiency and constructive dialogue with third countries, so as to guarantee the use of clean energy in future and for future generations.


  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. Mr President, after such a challenging and interesting debate, I would like to take the liberty of speaking a little longer than usual to end the debate.

In the situation we are currently facing, we would usually look to history for courageous decisions which have been taken on energy policy. So far I have found one: it was before the First World War, when Winston Churchill, who at the time was responsible for the Navy, decided to change the fuel for the British Navy from coal – which was domestically produced in Wales – to oil. When asked about security he said that diversity was the answer. We face as big a challenge as he did. However, we should also have courage. Neither OPEC nor Russia hold the ace in our poker game. We do.

I believe that, in the current challenge, the most competitive advantage will be that part of the world will not only be energy-efficient, but will also be capable of managing demand. This is the key to success. Otherwise, even with the best diversification, we will not be sustainable. This is a key challenge that we have to face.

The second important issue is that, if in a more complex environment – not just one in which we switch from coal to oil – we would like to be successful and achieve the goals we have agreed on, we should be aware that we are able to achieve them, just as we have been able to achieve our previous goals. This is crucial.

Solidarity is extremely important. However, we should all understand that solidarity imposes some ‘homework’ on us to prepare for this, and that there is a price to pay. We should believe that, for example, the power bridge between Lithuania and Poland is not only a commercial issue, but also one of solidarity. It should be built, but not on the basis of commercial arguments.

I heard a lot of sceptical remarks in relation to markets. However, the market actually provides the strength of the European Union. There is a lot of emotion about national champions. However, each case will be judged on the basis of European competition law. If there is a need to strengthen the law, that is a different story. Debate will always make emotions stronger. But the law will be applied exactly, and competition will prevail.

New technologies are definitely necessary. The price of oil is actually stimulating development. I recently received a very interesting proposal concerning super-grids that bring together many offshore wind farms. When you meet representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises dealing with renewables and heating and you ask them what they would support, they claim that oil prices should stay where they are. This gives more diversity and stimulates technological development among our researchers. But, this again brings us back to the fact that we will only be as strong as our will. If we are weak and do not believe in it, nobody else will help us – neither Russia nor Saudi Arabia. We must help ourselves.

In this respect, I believe that such debates are necessary. The strategic EU energy review will provide for a very competent debate and for the right decisions to be made. But I still believe that the basic answer lies in our strengths as a Union: i.e. in democracy, our vision in international relations and the market. But for the market to work, we should provide for stable and predictable investment conditions. The market will then provide what is asked for.

Thank you very much for your debate. I really believe we will come back for the debate and agree on the content of a European energy policy.




  President. To wind up the debate, I have received five motions for resolutions(1), pursuant to Rule 108(5) of the Rules of Procedure.

The debate is closed.

The vote will take place tomorrow at 11.00 a.m.


(1) See Minutes

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