Socialists and Democrats today expressed their full commitment to closely work with the Commission to implement its strategy for an Energy Union. It conveys the vision of a modern, integrated and sustainable Europe that is much-needed.
The general proposal made public today by the Commission is in line with the demands of the Socialists and Democrats (see Towards an Energy Union), but it will have to be nuanced and further developed through specific legislation over the next five years and beyond. This is why the role of the Parliament will be crucial.
S&D vice-president Kathleen Van Brempt said:
“We are confident that Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič will continue the fruitful cooperation with the Parliament. We welcome his ambitious plan and his efforts to ensure good coordination of all policy areas within the European Commission. From trade to internal market, from regional policy to research and innovation, as well as environment, industry and energy, they should all converge towards an energy transition that will boost growth, job creation and a sustainable future for Europe. Only strong leadership and coordination will bring success.
“For the first time decarbonisation is a goal in Europe’s energy policy and that is already an important improvement. However, we will try to reinforce some aspects of the proposal. Europe needs binding targets to achieve its goals.
“We must also see how this vision fits with the Juncker plan for investments. As a rapporteur of this issue in the Parliament, I want to make sure that this vision will be properly financed, and this remains to be seen in a context where the EU budget has been drastically reduced for the period 2014-2020 compared to 2007-2013.
“The idea of smart financing for smart buildings sounds good, but we will closely monitor the details behind this proposal.”
S&D spokesperson on energy, MEP Dan Nica, said:
“The Commission’s proposal is a good balance between the geostrategic need to reduce our energy dependency on expensive imports (420 billion euros per year that could be better spent for the benefit of our citizens) and the fair demand from families and industries to reduce the price of energy. But we need stronger policies.
“Regarding security of supply, the role of the Commission to coordinate purchases has been watered down from what was initially discussed. There should be permanent coordination and not only under exceptional circumstances.
“Also, we cannot accept that thousands of families across Europe cannot afford to pay for their heating, and unfortunately we don’t see much about energy poverty in the Commission’s proposal. Nor can we accept a situation in which electricity is cut off during the warmest days in the summer. Interconnectivity should be given greater importance to create a true European energy union.”
S&D spokesperson on climate and environment, MEP Matthias Groote, said:
“This vision for a sustainable and energy-independent Europe is crucial for the future of the Union. It is the next big step in our history of integration and will strengthen our leadership in the world.
“Through binding targets and strong investments in a decarbonised economy we will create new high quality jobs and develop new export markets. Our industrial competitiveness will be able to achieve the 20% industrialisation target. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are the way forward for new economic growth where Europe can lead a global change of mindset when we meet in Paris later this year.
"With Paris in mind, I would have wished for stronger integration of climate issues. Nonetheless, the Paper on the Energy Union represents a first step towards a sustainable, decarbonised economy in Europe.”