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European Commission must not be involved in energy agreements

GUE/NGL MEPs have reacted this afternoon in plenary to today's publication of the Commission's new EU energy union plan.

Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis said: “The Commission's new energy union strategy contains some inadequate and problematic references. The proposal for compulsory involvement of the Commission throughout all stages of negotiations on intergovernmental agreements is particularly problematic. As is the Commission's proposal for its participation in the negotiations and its involvement in the commercial agreements conducted by member states. The role of the European Commission should be advisory, and its presence voluntary, if requested by the member states concerned.”

He continued: “The European Commission should not be requesting increased powers when it has not yet succeeded in ensuring the EU's energy security, and while many countries continue to face serious problems in energy supply. Also, the Commission should not be claiming an enhanced role given that it has still not found a way to lift many EU countries and regions out of energy isolation.

“An important omission is the absence of substantial reference to the need to exploit the energy resources in the East Mediterranean, specifically the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The EU must turn its attention to the region and exploit the opportunities created for strengthening the Union's energy security.”

Czech MEP Kateřina Konečná commented: “The fact that this document focuses on energy efficiency and savings is positive but we need more clarifications. We want to see cleaner energy and less consumption. Some of the most interesting ideas are smart meters – however, these are quite expensive and will require a lot of investment from consumers and the energy sector.

“In the Commission's new strategy it refers to 200 billion euros of investment per year for the next decade for creating transitional networks. But we still don't know where these funds are coming from, these are huge amounts. We want to know whether or not we will have this money.”

Spanish MEP Paloma Lopez added: “The Commission is using the limits of state policies to impose its own liberalising agenda. Specific problems of highly-dependent states such as the Baltic countries or Cyprus become levers for projects which involve aggressive monopolising of resources with the development of mega private infrastructures that require a lot of demand to be profitable.

“The Commission only pays lip service to energy saving and clean energy. In Spain, it's very difficult to believe that a transition is going to happen through market mechanisms. Forced liberalisation and overcapacity have particularly penalised renewables and have not helped to reduce CO2 emissions. This has also generated a great deal of legal insecurity and a lot of court cases are piling up. While this is good for oligopolies the effects are damaging for consumers.”

Basque MEP Josu Juaristi said: “In some member states investment in renewables is almost disappearing. Very little account is taken of citizens or local government. What happens is that the big energy companies' control over our citizens is strengthened. We need to avoid a situation where the European Union just leaves its ideas for renewable energy on paper – as we see happening at the moment.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group