Bureau of the Member of European Parliament Laima Andrikienė.
E-mail: info@laimaandrikiene.lt
Šv. Ignoto Street. 1, LT-01120 Vilnius
Phone +370 5 212 23 60
The address for letters and the other correspondence: 36, Karvaičių Street, 06230 Vilnius.
  Search  |  Sitemap 


« Back

Need for effectively coordinated/common EU energy policy

Question to the Commission by Laima Liucija ANDRIKIENE, MEP
Subject: Need for effectively coordinated/common EU energy policy

EP Plenary session
16 May 2006

Energy security has always been one of the main economic and political problems of the EU. Energy dependency on Russian oil and gas has become a hot topic of discussion in the EU especially this year, and the EU has clearly understood that in the coming decade energy supplies will play a much more evident political role than before. The lack of an effective EU energy policy towards Russia allows the Kremlin to play European companies and their governments off against each other for access to gas and investment opportunities. The Green Paper on energy is filled with recommendations, but no enforcement power on the vital issues of energy diversity.

Is the EU in a position to implement an effectively coordinated energy policy, to be converted into an EU common energy policy in the near future? Is the EU in a position to counter the Russian pipeline monopoly for transportation of oil and gas from Central Asia to Europe? Is the EU able to secure reciprocity and greater transparency on the part of Russia's energy sector?

Answer by the Commission
16 May 2006
No. H-0397/06

The Commission shares the Honourable Member’s view that in today’s world, energy security requires a common European response. The same applies to energy challenges relating to climate and competitiveness. The Commission has argued this in the Green Paper on a European strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy(1). The Commission is encouraged by the clear statements of the Parliament, Council and the European Council in favour of the development of an energy policy for Europe.

In the Green Paper, the Commission has indicated areas in which existing frameworks may have to be strengthened and it has put forward some new tools to help in the development and implementation of a coordinated or common EU policy.

Developing a European energy policy, a long term challenge, requires a clear but flexible framework: clear in that it represents a common approach endorsed at the highest level, flexible in that it needs periodic updating. As a foundation for this process, the Commission therefore proposes that a Strategic EU Energy Review be presented to the Council and Parliament on a regular basis, covering the issues identified in this Green Paper. This would constitute a stocktaking and action plan for the Spring European Council, monitoring progress and identifying new challenges and responses on all aspects of energy policy.

As regards Russia, the development of a common external energy policy should mark a step change in this energy partnership at both Community and national level. The EU, as Russia’s largest energy buyer, is an essential and equal partner in the relationship.

A true partnership would offer security and predictability for both sides, paving the way for the necessary long-term investments in new capacity. It would also need to ensure fair and reciprocal, transparent and non discriminatory access to markets and infrastructure including in particular third party access to pipelines. Transparency would be an important factor. Negotiations with Russia must be pursued with vigour; the EU must speak with the same voice and strongly. It is particularly important that Member States and the Commission speak with a common voice also in multilateral frameworks.

This year, the Russian Presidency of the G8 offers an opportunity for intensified pressure on Russia for ratification of the Energy Charter Treaty and conclusion of the negotiations on the Transit Protocol. It is important to note that during the preparatory Sherpa meetings and the G8 Energy Ministerial preceding the July G 8 summit, the personal representative or “Sherpas” from both the Commission and the EU Member States, that are members of the G8, as well as energy ministers and the Energy Commissioner, have been clear on passing the same message about market reciprocity, the right of transit conditions and third party access.

Alongside negotiations with Russia, diversification of supply routes is important. Diversification is progressing, helped by the Trans-European Networks programme, the Energy Community in South-East Europe, European Neighbourhood Policy, internal market developments and the growing competitiveness of Liquefied Natural Gas.

The Commission argues in the Green Paper for a clear policy on securing and diversifying energy supplies, both for the EU as a whole and for specific Member States or regions, especially for gas. To this end, the Strategic EU Energy Review could propose clearly identified priorities for the upgrading and construction of new infrastructure necessary for the security of EU energy supplies, notably new gas and oil pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals, along with the application of transit and third party access to existing pipelines.

(1) (COM(2006)105)