The EESC strongly supports the objectives of the Energy Union and encourages EU society to take full ownership of this project. The Energy Union is not only relevant to sectoral policies such as energy, transport and climate but offers a number of opportunities to make Europe more democratic, cohesive, competitive and just. To this end, an effective energy dialogue with organised civil society at EU, national, regional and local levels is fundamental.
In the EESC opinion adopted at the April plenary session, Toni Vidan and Christophe Quarez take stock of the progress made towards an EU Energy Union, following the release of the European Commission's third report on the subject in November 2017.
Organised civil society must be actively and permanently involved. An effective energy dialogue requires a concerted effort from all EU institutions and their members, both in Brussels and on the ground in the Member States, to discuss the benefits of and issues facing the Energy Union, to involve citizens in drawing up energy transition plans and to organise public debates on how people imagine their energy future in Europe.
The Committee proposes practical solutions to try to overcome the existing barriers: a Social Pact for a Citizens-driven Energy Transition, a European Energy Information Service, a European Energy Transition Adjustment Fund, and a Green Erasmus Pro programme. (mp)