After its successful first edition last year, the German-Polish Energy Forum continued the dialogue between key decision-makers from both countries on March the 23rd , in Berlin, addressing common challenges and opportunities in the field of energy policy. The discussion confirmed that the interaction of energy and environmental policies is perceived as increasingly relevant for the sustainable preservation of our prosperity and security. As large neighbouring countries at the very heart of Europe, Germany and Poland share a responsibility to find answers to the emerging challenges that both experience.
The Presidents of major Trade Associations of the two countries, Hildegard Müller (German Association of the Energy and Water Industry) and Andrzej Malinowski (Employers of Poland), opened the event by highlighting the growing importance of the energy sector for the competitiveness of their economies. Both pointed to the high potential of bilateral co-operation when it comes to the creation of a European Energy Union and the management of external uncertainties.
A panel discussion on the consequences of implementing European climate policies in Germany and Poland, moderated by Ambassador Janusz Reiter, Chairman of the Board for the Centre of International Relations in Poland, gave an insight into the different stances of the participants, with respect to a balance between reaching set CO2 targets and the implications for their economies’ competitiveness.
During the panel session, Waldemar Pawlak, Member of Parliament in Poland and former Polish Prime Minister , expressed his concern that an aggressive decarbonisation would critically harm the Polish economy. He added that a modernisation of existing facilities would be a far less aggressive intervention into the market than the German ‘Energiewende’.
Accordingly, the Polish Minister of the Environment, Mr. Maciej Grabowski, inquired about the experiences in Germany, especially with respect to the reform’s market distortion effects and its impact on consumer prices. Mr. Sigmar Gabriel, German Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, stated that even though the targets for climate and energy policy have clearly been set, it remains uncertain as to what the necessary implementation of reforms to achieve them should look like.
Mr. Paweł Olechnowicz, Chairman of CEEP, highlighted the need for a North-South Corridor, at a time when the EU wants to secure its energy security and competitiveness. He suggested that Europe still lacks proper energy infrastructure, especially in Central Europe between the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas.
The broad final consensus amongst all participants was summarised by Prof. Dr. Friedbert Pflüger, Director of the European Centre of Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS), when he said that only close regional and bilateral co-operation between Germany and Poland can unfold the great potential of both economies, and that the different approaches employed by both nations, can complement each other when mutual understanding and goodwill remain at the centre of the partnership.