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European Parliament - European Energy Community: competitiveness, security of supply and sustainability

The EU should accelerate the application of common energy policy rules, and the policy itself must aim to improve competitiveness, security of supply and sustainability, concluded a joint meeting of over 250 MEPs and MPs from EU Member States in Brussels on Tuesday.

Three panels, on energy security, a single energy market and new and renewable energies, presented their reports on Tuesday.

Energy security

Summing up the energy security panel's conclusions, MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (EPP, PL) said that more political impetus from Member States is needed to accelerate the application of common energy policy rules and that a financial compensation mechanism should be set up at EU level to facilitate energy infrastructure investment. A single energy market cannot function efficiently without energy security, he added.

A single energy market

Fully interconnected energy networks are a precondition for a single market, said Spanish Senator Félix Lavilla Martínez, noting that they would make it possible to reduce energy prices and so benefit consumers. Greater energy efficiency would improve the sector's competitiveness, enabling energy suppliers to redirect investment into cleaner alternative sources, he added.

Spanish MP Jesús Alique López called for greater energy efficiency and more co-operation among Member States to develop cleaner technologies. Fiscal and financial support would boost production and lower costs in the long run, he said, adding that switching to electric cars would save energy as well as reducing CO2 emissions.

Renewable sources

EP President Jerzy Buzek said that renewable sources of energy should be top priority of the future EU energy policy, but with an eye to sustaining the competitiveness of European energy companies. He acknowledged that enhanced co-operation among EU Member States might be the best legal basis for the future European Energy Community, but noted that this particular discussion had only just begun.

Council and Commission

Spanish secretary of state for energy Pedro Luis Marín Uribe said that the energy community could create a fundamental shift in the EU economy, but it has to be based on "three pillars of competitiveness, security of supply and sustainability". However, it remained to be seen whether Union, or a specific energy community, could achieve these goals, he added.

European Commission Vice-President Joaquin Almunia backed the "three pillar" plan also reminded participants that energy should be accessible to everybody, at affordable prices for consumers and industry. As a single energy market cannot be built from one day to the next, the focus should be on regional co-operation and specific areas inside the Union, he suggested. National and international parliamentary dialogue should "become the rule and not the exception, as that dialogue is part of the solution", he concluded.

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