The European Economic and Social Committee welcomes the opportunity to provide an opinion on the Third report on State of the Energy Union by the European Commission, as it did before for the first and second reports. As expressed in previous opinions, the EESC strongly supports the idea of a European Energy Union and would like to stress that the Energy Union is not only relevant to sectoral policies such as energy, transport and climate but offers opportunities to make Europe more democratic, more cohesive, more competitive, and more just.
State of the Energy Union 2017 - Social Fairness and Civil Society Participation in Europe's Energy Transition - Related Opinions
The European Economic and Social Committee has been supporting the idea of a European Energy Union from its first inception as a European Energy Community in 2010. The annual State of the Energy Union report is also broadly welcomed by the EESC as a means to keep energy at the top of the political agenda across the European Union and ensure coordinated progress across sectors and Member states. The 2015 version of the State of the Energy Union is a snapshot taken only nine months after the launch of the Energy Union programme, limiting the reports' usefulness to judge progress made towards the Energy Union. However, as is noted in the opinion, the report's publication provides the EESC a welcome opportunity to identify particular aspects in advancing and governing the Energy Union that are of particular importance to Europe's civil society.
The EESC endorses the Energy Union and considers its implementation urgent – this could lead to making energy the fifth EU freedom. At the same time, the Committee stresses the need for a clearer message a leading vision – on what European citizens and enterprises will gain from the Energy Union. It also underlines that the Commission, when preparing proposals for reviews of energy legislation, as outlined in the roadmap, should avoid inconsistencies and increasing costs but rather try to simplify processes. The Committee recommends that the most urgent priority, notwithstanding the importance of security of supply and the sustainability, should be action on energy costs.