Energie - Related Opinions
The EESC considers that enhanced European cooperation on energy networks is essential for the general public and businesses. Civil society and regional players have a key role to play in energy transition, the only means of guaranteeing efficiency, price control and efforts to combat climate change. The EESC proposes that platforms for discussion between regions and civil society representatives be set up at the joint initiative of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, to include the economic and social councils or similar institutions of each Member State.
The EESC recommends taking a decisive step towards a real European Energy Community by coordinating national plans, particularly with a view to securing the EU’s energy supply, providing more information on plans to step up action in the non-ETS sector, particularly in the transport, agriculture and land use sectors. And taking radical action on innovation and research as the providers of real solutions to the challenges, in combination with measures to promote the manufacture of equipment for the low carbon economy, while and ensuring that delivery by industry is supported by better training, and making the international development of climate policies the top priority and in parallel paying more attention to adaptation to climate change.
The EESC believes that the Commission's documents (Communication and Recommendations) are based on a realistic view of the subject and that further discussions must be based on facts and findings, but it is also necessary to consider important subjective factors such as the public's perception of risk. The EESC takes a balanced view of the potential role of unconventional hydrocarbons in the EU energy mix.
Energy prices can comprise an important competitiveness factor for industry. However, an economic analysis of industrial competitiveness should not be limited to energy prices. It is essential to have global coherence in limiting climate change. Leadership by Europe may risk consequences of uncompetitiveness, industrial relocation and carbon export.
Energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other indigenous sources of energy can all improve security of supply but each have factors of cost, risk, environmental impact and social acceptance attached. As national approaches and attitudes will vary transparent cost analysis and a revision and better coordination of support instruments (like feed-in regulations and tariffs) are vital in determining an acceptable energy mix in each Member State and cooperation with neighbouring countries is equally important.
The EESC welcomes this new communication, which it regards this as an opportunity to recalibrate policies in light of the experience acquired by the Member States and to give new impetus to the process of EU electricity market integration by focusing more clearly on the benefits to the public and the eradication of energy poverty in the EU.
To address the issue of energy poverty, the EESC calls for a European energy security and solidarity commitment within the framework of a European energy community which would drive forward a truly European policy and aim to: protect individuals and prevent their social exclusion; take action to reduce the factors of structural vulnerability; and encourage everyone to assume responsibility for using sustainable and renewable energy resources.
EU energy and climate policy must recognise and be responsive to global markets and international agreements. It also must develop answers when the markets fails to respond to social priorities and deal with the lack of political coherence. The debate on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) exemplifies the tensions represented in such a policy initiative.
The EESC positively welcomes the timely amendments to the Nuclear Safety Directive. How this issue is perceived by the public has a significant impact on national policy. Citizens rightly expect verifiable high standards and consistency.