This is not the time for Central Europe to keep silent

This is not the time for Central Europe to keep silent

At the very moment you are reading this article, all eyes and cameras are on the Vice-President of the European Commission, in charge of Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, who is soon expected to reveal the long awaited “Winter Package”, which is an another step in the process of the creation of the Energy Union. In recent weeks, we have seen drafts of it leaked to the press, and these have kept the front pages in Brussels busy, and as we now know, that what is decided, will profoundly affect the development of the energy sector in the coming decades, we understand better the importance attached to it.

The world is in the cusp of change, and a new transformed future is shaped in this climate of high political, financial, and technological uncertainty. If we want to have our say on the direction we’re heading, this is truly the actual moment to make our voice heard. Since 2010, Central Europe Energy Partners has been active in Brussels, serving the interests of its members, and trying to influence the development of the EU’s energy policy. For the past six years, CEEP has progressed through different stages of its activities, but now – when we witness so important a development upon us - I would like to stress this vital point even more – our main role is, first and foremost, to represent and defend the interests of the energy and energy-intensive companies from Central Europe. I would like to emphatically make it a top priority for our association, and move onto the new period of dynamic development, which was enabled to me by the Board of Directors.

The Central European region is under-represented in Brussels – everybody agrees on that. There is a need for more structures and human capacities to be influential on the European decision-making process. What we have, for sure, is the commitment that we want a more secure and stable Europe, with a fair energy transition, which is reasonable for European consumers. We, in Central Europe, understand better than other Member States, what it means to be beholden to the dominance, monopoly, and dependence on one supplier. This is why we strive for a free, but also fair, energy market, which allows all companies to compete in an undistorted manner, in order to bring energy to consumers at affordable prices.

There has been no quiet period for the energy sector, which continuously goes through transformations, adaptations, reconfigurations, and the Winter Package I mentioned in the beginning, is one of the elements that will impact on the direction of these transformations. We expect soon to receive more details about the Energy Union governance, the review of the Renewables Directive, the Electricity Market Regulations, the Energy Efficiency Directive, all these having a direct impact on the economic development of Central Europe, and the EU as a whole. Meanwhile, we must not forget about the ongoing legislation processes on security of gas supply, and ETS, which should be closely monitored.

A wait-and-see approach is not the appropriate answer to all these challenges and transformations, therefore, Central Europe must stand up for its interests, and actively shape the energy transition that we are heading towards. An energy transition that has to take into account the specificity of the region, and should not be an impediment to the economic growth of Central Europe, whilst guaranteeing the security of supply and undistorted development of the market. I express the hope that thanks to CEEP’s activities in the coming years, the development of the EU’s energy policy will be more transparent and fair and will always take into account different points of view, especially those from Central Europe.

Executive Director, CEEP