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If the EU is to succeed in its energy transition, it must take society with it

15 May 2013
Ref: 38/2013

There must be an open and transparent European energy dialogue both within and between EU Member States: this is the message of a joint declaration adopted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute yesterday in Paris. This text will be presented to the European Council ahead of its 22 May meeting centred on energy.

Mr Malosse, EESC President, and Jacques Delors, former European Commission president and founding president of Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute, stress that the public are worried about energy issues. Energy policy can mobilise them around a European project that offers them added value and real, tangible results.

According to the signatories to the declaration, European energy dialogue is contingent on three conditions being met:

  • better information: stepping up information and awareness-raising campaigns in order to help civil society and citizens grasp the scale of the energy challenges ahead;
  • better consultation: advocating energy debates across the EU, they draw attention to the one currently taking place in France as the event of 14 May, with the participation and support of figures such as Delphine Batho, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, and Martin Lidegaard, Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Building;
  • greater democracy:  ensuring that the opinions of the communities that are consulted are taken into account and respected following local, national and European-level consultations. 

"It's time for a rethink of our energy strategies, with the full involvement of the general public. An informed public that is consulted and whose views are respected: this is the key to democracy", said Henri Malosse, president of the European Economic and Social Committee, the Brussels-based body representing European civil society.

The EESC and Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute hope the text will have a positive impact on the work of the 22 May European Council meeting when it comes to energy.

The EESC and Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute previously worked together on a proposal for the setting up of a European energy community which would mean greater integration of energy markets, coordination of research policies and investment decisions, and the need to speak with one voice on the world stage.

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