Dozens of meetings in Europe and the United States; numerous published materials, articles and statements. Finally, participation in the most important bodies which decide on the future of Europe’s industry, and monitoring closely, developments in the energy-intensive and energy sectors, along with climate policy. These were some of the key activities implemented by Central Europe Energy Partners (CEEP) in 2014.
One of the most important issues of interest to our association in 2014, was a report launched last November at a major conference in Istanbul. It represented a joint project of the Atlantic Council, - a leading US think tank - and CEEP.
‘Completing Europe – From the North-South Corridor to Energy, Transportation, and Telecommunications Union’
In our opinion, the rapid development of the North-South Corridor, which would constitute an integrated network of interconnectors in the energy, transport and telecommunications sector, would contribute to strengthening the EU.
[Tweet "CEEP is calling for the establishment of the Corridor as a system of developed infrastructural connections"]CEEP is calling for the establishment of the Corridor as a system of developed infrastructural connections, i.e. natural gas and oil pipelines, electrical grids, highways, rail and telecommunications networks, which will span from the Polish coast including the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), and further to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and finally to the coast of Croatia, with the inclusion of Ukraine and Moldova.
Low-priced energy is key to Europe’s revival
Since its establishment, CEEP has been arguing that, if Europe aims to maintain its potential and position in the global economy, it must concentrate its efforts on decreasing the costs of energy. Only if this is achieved, has European industry the chance to compete globally.
Instead of argument-based discussions – the acrobatics of environmental clichés
The ongoing debates in Europe, which we have been witnessing for a number of years, focusing on whether it is better to decrease CO2 emissions by 30%, or perhaps even 40%, have been deprived of the solid calculations behind their potential impact on the European economy, and Europe’s competitiveness in relation to other global players. In 2014, we witnessed an unexpected success in the “battle” for data transparency. In recent years, we have been arguing that CO2 emissions should be reported annually, and “tonnes per capita”, as only this provides a clear image of where we stand, and the data duly becomes more transparent and comprehensible. For many years, our argument has only manifested itself at specialised debates. However, in late 2014, identical thinking was displayed by scientists from the Paris Dauphine University. Hopefully, it is a sign of things to come. CEEP’s publications and papers are characterised by their scientific rigour, and they present an in-depth analysis of the described issues. We hope that our forthcoming publications will be met with similar appreciation.
Coal - a source of low-cost and secure energy for Europe
In March, 2014, the 23rd meeting of the European Round Table on Coal was held at the European Parliament, in Brussels. The meeting provided us with a chance to present our Action Plan document, outlining our stance on the key issues and challenges ahead of the European coal industry.
The ‘Memorandum on energy and climate goals for 2020-2030’, which was presented by CEEP to Herman van Rompuy in March, was a particularly important supplement to these activities.
In terms of the European Parliament and the European Commission, we successfully postulated that all decisions related to climate and policy in the energy sector are best left within the competence of the new Parliament, Council and Commission, which should be given more time to reflect on the complexity of this field, and take into account a sustainable approach to the present economic situation in the EU and climate issues at global level. We will continue to carry out our activities related to coal in the European Parliament under the changed format of ‘Coal and Steel’, with Professor Jerzy Buzek, MEP and Chairman of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), at the helm.
The everlasting topic – security in the energy sector
In April, 2014, the European Economic Congress in Katowice, Poland, proved to be a traditional forum for presenting CEEP’s ideas and proposals, as it is one of the leading locations for meetings between representatives of business and politics in Central Europe. Our panel discussion, ‘The Common Energy Market in Europe’, was one of the key debates at the Congress.
[Tweet "CEEP is calling for the maintenance of a balance between European economic policy and climate policy"]The session was dominated by the question of security in Europe’s energy sector. Most participants were unequivocal on this issue. Europe has gone too far in its ambition to implement the challenging goals of climate policy, by “making a sacrifice” and putting jobs at stake, undermining the continent’s social and economic security, and threatening the very existence of its industry.
CEEP is, therefore, calling for the maintenance of a balance between European economic policy and climate policy, as well as stimulating the growth of the European economy.
Energy April in Bucharest
In late April, CEEP hosted another edition of the ‘29+1’ summit, under the patronage of the RomanianPrime Minister. The event, now three years old, enables the representatives of 29 leading companies from Central Europe’s energy and energy-intensive industries to meet with the EU’s Energy Commissioner. The summits have produced special memoranda, drafted by CEEP, which have been accepted with great interest by the EU’s Energy Commissioner. The main aim of the meetings is to ensure that Central Europe’s energy sector speaks with one strong voice in Brussels. In Bucharest, we endorsed what will be one of the EU’s flagship initiatives in the forthcoming years: the EU Energy Union.
Berlin: important for the energy sector
In 2014, CEEP, together with Pflüger International and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), hosted five meetings in Berlin as part of the Energy Dialogue series, which is known and highly appreciated by experts. This unique platform provides us with an opportunity to present all the concepts and ideas related to the development of the energy sector, as well as to reinforce our position on the forum of the German Parliament.
Autumn shadowed by the second climate package
In late October, the European Council had its meeting in Brussels, during which the main item on the agenda concerned acceptance of the EU’s climate package for the years: 2020-2030. The meeting came at a particularly difficult time, which coincided with the constitutional process of the new European Commission.
The official position of the European Council, released following the October talks, opened the door to simple solutions in the form of directives and other regulations, which will allow implementation of the rules adopted at the Council’s meeting. Having said that, we should keep it in mind that though the summit expressed understanding for the postulates of less-developed countries from Central Europe, this does not necessarily mean that the EU’s bureaucracy will promote and encourage these solutions.
We need to combine our forces to ensure that the summit’s decisions are put into force. It is worth noting that, under the current directive, entities in Central Europe can benefit from CO2 emission derogations in the production of electricity by coal-powered power plants. This seems to be crystal clear.
The Council adopts CEEP’s proposal
The European Council has accepted a long-formulated proposal which, among others, has been put forward by CEEP concerning the Fuel Quality Directive, enabling the adoption of the “default value concept” for crude oil, which allows Central European refineries to operate, without further legislative burdens, mainly importing crude oil from Russia.
[Tweet "e had the chance to present our positions in front of joint US and EU negotiating teams for energy"]Another chapter is the active role of CEEP as a stakeholder in preparing positions on energy and energy intensive industries in Central Europe for negotiations between the US and the EU. We had the chance to present our positions in front of joint US and EU negotiating teams for energy. As the issue is on the table in 2015 too, we are prepared for further discussions.
ETS (Emissions Trading System) and MSR (Market Stability Reserve)
These two topics are crucial for the industries represented by CEEP. Either these industries will be on the carbon leakage list, or will be completely phased out from the EU economy (refineries, steel, chemical industries and coal energy power plants).
Last year was a productive one, in terms of the organisational development of CEEP. Further companies from the energy, steel, mining, machinery, petrochemical, as well as legal and financial sectors, joined the ranks of CEEP’s members. In the first half of the year, ArcelorMittal Poland became a member of the association. CEEP’s ranks were also swelled by KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. and Lurgi S.A. - AIR LIQUIDE GLOBAL E&C SOLUTIONS. Furthermore, Ukraine’s Sumy Frunze joined CEEP, and the company was followed by PERN “Przyjaźń” SA. Other notable CEEP recruits were the Polish Electricity Association (PKEE) and the international law firm Clifford Chance.