As a MEP and a member of the ITRE Committee, I fear that we in Europe face a double energy crisis – in terms of competitiveness, but also security of supply. Former Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has said “Europe can no longer afford to adopt a unilateral climate policy”. And former Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani has said “We are creating an Industrial Massacre in Europe”. They are right. The EU has set aggressive targets for emissions reductions, which have meant gross over-investment in intermittent and expensive renewables. Brussels has forced the closure of low-cost coal-fired power stations. It has created a cat’s-cradle of subsidies; incentives; feed-in tariffs; renewables obligations; quasi-carbon-taxes like the Emissions Trading Scheme; capacity payments for spinning reserve; and so on. And it has resolutely set its face against low-cost alternatives like coal and indigenous gas. When I challenged the new EU Energy Commissioner Cañete on this issue, his solution was simply “a more integrated European energy market”. That’s fiddling at the margin, and ignoring the real issues. Energy pricing in the EU is driving industries, jobs and investment off-shore, often to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards, thus potentially increasing global emissions, while we undermine European economies. Let’s look at some examples. [Tweet "Since 2007, the European aluminium smelting industry has closed 36% of its capacity"]Take aluminium. Since 2007, the European aluminium smelting industry has closed 36% of its capacity – eleven smelters out of 24. It’s lost around 42,000 jobs – many of them high-value jobs in R&D. And this is not because of lack of demand, which has been rising. So imports have been rising [...]
Ms. Adina-Ioana Vălean, a Romanian MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament and a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), presented during the conference on EU Energy Policy and Competitiveness in Brussels (November 17th) her vision on how to manage inherent costs in order to make energy prices more favourable to business competitiveness,. After the event, she further developed for CEEP Report some of the crucial points. Cristina Dascălu (CD): You said in your presentation that the EU should rely more on the US and less on Russia when it comes to energy imports. “The more the EU looks to the East, the less it is open for the global supply chain”. Can Russia be replaced by the US or others? Adina-Ioana Vălean (AV): The EU should rely on itself and re-orient its energy security strategy. By fully interconnecting its gas grids, by building up LNG hubs in Southern Europe, and by completing the North-South and Southern Gas corridors, we can choose to buy from any supplier on the global market. We should not be in the business of ignoring any country: we should just be able to choose the best prices and the most reliable partners. We can do that only if we have a truly interconnected internal energy market with multiple entry points and reverse flows. Of course, an extended deal on energy trade within the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement – the TTIP, would allow consumers to benefit from the deep discontinuities in price between the American and European markets, and it would allow the EU to build up its long-standing economic [...]
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.