We certainly hope so. Climate change is real and warrants action. It is a global challenge, requiring effective measures to be undertaken by all significant world economies under an effective and clear international agreement. This is where COP-21 is supposed to make the difference, representing a turning point, whereby the EU – so far an almost lone runner – is joined by the global community with ambitious, binding commitments to reduce GHG emissions in an equitable manner. The EU has already submitted its target: a binding 40% cut in GHG emissions in 2030, with respect to 1990 levels. It is an unconditional commitment: whatever the results in Paris, it will not be revised downwards, but possibly upwards. In this way, the European Union has set an ambitious model for other regions of the world to follow. In fact, strong, equitable and binding commitments from all regions in the world are indispensable for two main reasons: To effectively address climate change: the EU is responsible for only 10% of today’s global GHG emissions, with a further declining trend. However, no matter what level of ambition its emission reductions achieve, its practical contribution to the resolution of the climate change emergency will be almost irrelevant, unless the other major world economies ‘play the same tune’. To restore a level playing field among competing economies: ambitious decarbonisation targets do not come free of cost: the EU economy – so, ultimately its citizens – will be footing the bill. The EU’s industry, and particularly the energy-intensive sectors, such as petroleum refining, chemicals, steel, cement, aluminium, and many others, are posed to further worsen [...]
The EU’s political steps to reduce its energy dependence need to be accompanied by investments in the energy infrastructure. A good starting point in this process may be the construction of the North–South Corridor of energy, transportation and telecommunications, as presented in a report by Central Europe Energy Partners (CEEP) and the Atlantic Council. European institutions have declared their interest in integrating proposals from the report into future European legislation and policy. On March the 24th, a high-level conference in Brussels discussed these issues. The conference’s keynote speaker was Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union. The other presenters included Dominique Ristori, Director General of European Commission’s DG Energy; Prof. Jerzy Buzek, Chairman of the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee; and Massimo Cingolani, Managerial Advisor in Operations Directorate, European Investment Bank. Paweł Olechnowicz and Jan Kulczyk represented CEEP, with David Koranyi speaking on behalf of the Atlantic Council. The discussion focused on the ‘Completing Europe’ report’s main recommendation to create an integrated set of energy, transportation and digital links across Central Europe. I am happy that our concept was incorporated into the Energy Union Package of the 25th of February, 2015. Our idea is to be able to easily drive an ‘energy highway’ from North to South and back again. We need more investments in this area, along with a holistic approach to this challenge, as, at the moment, too many EU Member States remain energy ‘islands’, and therefore are impeded from freely trading energy and energy resources. This results in high prices, especially in Central Europe, compared to the Western part of the continent, declared Paweł Olechnowicz, Chairman [...]
The idea behind the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between the European Union and the United States is that both sides should benefit. Yet, for this to happen we need not only tough negotiations with the Americans, but also a change in thinking about EU regulations that block or hamper the competitiveness of European companies. Many myths have gathered around the TTIP, which aims to create a free trade area between the European Union and the United States. Some see this agreement as a remedy for Europe’s economic woes, whilst others are skeptical. The pace of economic recovery on the Old Continent is still slow and the effects of the crisis—including high unemployment, a record level of debt, and slow GDP growth - remain strongly felt. Establishing what would be the world’s largest free trade area could change all this by fostering economic growth and creating new jobs. Level playing field on a single market It is almost certain that new jobs will be created due to the TTIP. This is evidenced by most big agreements that have laid the foundations for free trade areas in the past. History shows, that, depending on various factors, new jobs can be created either fairly evenly for all interested parties (such was the case with the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union) or for one party at the expense of another (as exemplified by what happened in the United States and Mexico after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA). Which scenario will prevail in this case? This is difficult to predict, [...]
Prof. Jerzy Buzek, Chairman of the ITRE Committee (EP) spoke with Jakub Przyborowicz, CEEP’s co-ordinator of European Institutions’ Affairs, about his vision on the Energy Union, how to accomplish it, what should be the priorities for the coming months and what does this project mean for the industry. Jakub Przyborowicz (JP): Why do we need an Energy Union? Jerzy Buzek (JB): Secure, cheaper and cleaner energy is a challenge which no EU Member State is capable of solving separately. This is why European countries agreed on a common energy policy almost ten years ago. Today, its creation still leaves a lot to be desired.What we need is a political umbrella embracing our energy and climate policy, above all the sectors and players. This is the role I expected of the European Energy Community which I proposed as President of the European Parliament, together with Jacques Delors, in May 2010. Energy Union is a new brand of that initiative. At the same time, whilst solving our energy challenges, the Union can become a strong driver of competitiveness, economic growth, and jobs. (JP): How to accomplish it? (JB): First of all, by completing the Internal Energy Market. This means full enforcement of all the relevant laws by EU Member States. The vast majority have been waiting on the table for a long time in the form of the Third Energy Package. This is the software of the market, its “soul”. However, the market also needs a “body”, which is the hardware –, infrastructure: interconnections, generation, transmission, distribution and storage capacity, as well as flexibility mechanisms for integrating energy from renewable sources. The [...]
In a few words
We represent the widely understood Central Europe energy sector (electricity generation, distribution and transmission, renewables, gas, oil, heat generation and distribution, chemical industries, etc.), universities and scientific institutions.