The Energy Union must provide EU citizens with secure, sustainable and affordable energy, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution voted on Tuesday. Building it will demand concerted efforts by EU countries to reduce their dependence on energy imports, by integrating their energy markets, improving security of supply, making the best use of existing and renewable sources, and moderating demand, they add.
The resolution was passed by 403 votes to 177, with 117 abstentions.
"Parliament agreed today that the common energy market must be the cornerstone of the energy union", said rapporteur Evžen Tosenovsky (ECR, CZ). "However, market rules must be supported by solidarity mechanisms when member states face a dominant energy supplier".
Diversify supplies, buy together
"More sustainable and competitive prices and costs of imported energy" should be "actively pursued through the diversification of supply (energy sources, suppliers and routes)", say MEPs, stressing that to this end, "all EU infrastructure projects must be fully in line with EU climate and energy legislation and long-term objectives and priorities, including EU energy security".
The security and competitiveness of energy supplies will be a key issue for the Energy Union, say MEPs, who urge the EU and its member states to negotiate “with one voice with third countries” when drawing up energy contracts and give the European Commission a stronger role "in energy-related negotiations".
Build efficiency, develop renewables
MEPs call for "a revision of existing energy efficiency legislation, including the Energy Performance of Building Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive". They note that 61% of EU gas imports is used in buildings, mainly for heating.
Renewables not only reduce import dependence, but also play "a crucial role in improving air quality and creating jobs and growth", notes the text, adding that their development is "essential to the energy union".
An interconnected energy market
MEPs stress the need to make the best use of existing national and cross-border energy infrastructure in order to use energy effectively and strengthen security of supply.
"A fully integrated internal electricity market could save EU consumers €12-40 billion a year by 2030", they say in a separate resolution, also voted on Tuesday, which adds that the Commission’s proposed “10% interconnection by 2020 target needs to be supplemented by other, more ambitious and evidence-based targets, to be achieved by 2030".
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution
Raluca Viviana HULUBAN