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EU’s Energy Union policy on gas and ETS biased towards big companies


The first part of GUE/NGL’s ‘study days’ in Bratislava focussed on energy security and issues facing Slovakia and the EU including gas supplies and the Emissions Trading System.

EU’s Energy Union policy on gas and ETS biased towards big companies

Bratislava, 20/9/2016


Slovakia currently holds the EU Presidency and group President Gabi Zimmer welcomed delegates saying this was an opportunity for an exchange of views and to understand Slovakia’s position as the EU moves forward as a 27-member state body. Czech MEP Jaromír Kohlíček echoed those views and said that with both his home country and Slovakia being geographically situated in Central Europe, the two nations are critical to the Commission’s Energy Union policy. 

For gas security, Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis, member of the Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), said whilst energy security is a hugely important issue, the principle remains that common goods should be made available to all people:

“The Energy Union in theory sets out to regulate competition and to complete an internal market within the EU. But, in reality, these policies fail to provide energy security and actually make the EU’s situation worse.”

“The EU needs to change its mindset and to stop serving the interests of the markets. Instead, we should put citizens and energy poverty at the heart of it. Currently, ordinary people are being left out thanks to these neo-liberal considerations.” 

“And most important of all - fracking must not be part of that policy,” warned Sylikiotis. 

Over discussions on the Emissions Trading System, ETS, German MEP and substitute on the ITRE committee Cornelia Ernst noted that its ‘trade and cap’ principle as part of the the EU’s scheme to reduce CO2 emissions has always been something of a problem:

“The ‘cap’ component is all about how much greenhouse gases can be emitted.The emitters have to buy up allowances through technological innovations like filters. Since every company must surrender enough allowances to cover all its emissions on an annual basis or they’d be heavily penalised, this gives you an emissions trading market.”

“The problem is that this depends on supply and demand. The price is therefore an important factor. And right now, one tonne of CO2 costs €4 when it should be between €40 and €70! When prices are this low, there’s little incentive to take part in the ETS,” she continued.

“We need a new approach towards the ETS - one without loopholes. Meanwhile, continued subsidy must be endorsed for renewable energy,” Ernst concluded. 


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