EU energy policy in the 21st century is facing diverse and far-reaching challenges:
the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change;
a dramatically increasing dependency on energy imports;
highly volatile prices in energy markets, leading to the increased vulnerability of economic actors;
a continuous growth in energy demand;
reliable and affordable energy provision for all.
Building on our members' expertise, the EESC's consultative work on energy reviews EU energy policy and puts issues of concern for Europe's civil society on the European policy agenda. Some of the major issues being addressed are:
social and employment issues in the redistribution of energy resources;
the concerns of European industry about the impact on competitiveness of the EU emission trading system;
consumer interests which must be strengthened by way of better information and greater choice;
citizens' involvement in the design of a stronger EU energy policy.
1 - We plead for a mix of energy sources
In order for the Member States to meet the EU energy and climate objectives the EESC supports a mix of energy sources that is as coordinated as possible whilst respecting national competence. The important potential of renewable energy for global competitiveness, energy security and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is regularly reiterated in EESC position.
EESC opinions also highlight the transitory role of other low carbon technologies such as clean coal, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear energy.
2 - We play an active role in the work of the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF)
In the nuclear energy domain, the EESC plays an active role in the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF)
with the objective of organising, a transparent, open and structured debate on key issues relatied to the opportunities and risks of nuclear energy in the EU.
Mr Richard Adams, Member of the TEN Section chairs the ENEF working group on 'Transparency'.
3 - We advocate a deeper Europeanization of energy policy
The EESC and civil society support the European energy community (EEC), a policy proposal made by Jacques Delors and the think-tank Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute.
A common energy policy can contribute to addressing current shortcomings through joint policy-making, consistent implementation, pooling of resources and appropriate governance.
Such a comprehensive framework can make EU energy policy more efficient, reduce the cost, bring value to the citizens and raise the EU's profile vis-à-vis international partners.
Read more about the EESC work on the European Energy Community.
Read more about the EESC work on energy transition.