The EESC's annual opinion on the State of the Energy Union takes stock of progress so far and calls on the European Commission to focus more on social aspects.
"The Energy Union is not a reality yet. It may be a reality in terms of EU policy decisions, but it is still not a reality in the daily lives of European citizens." That was the firm view advanced by Christophe Quarez at the July plenary session, echoing the argument in his opinion – adopted by the assembly – that the energy transition had not yet happened on the ground. He went on: "Now that EU policymakers have laid the foundations of the Energy Union, a lot remains to be done in the next few years."
The change of format in the decision-making process for energy policy, both at EU and national level, was key, said Mr Quarez. We needed to move from "decisions by a few" to "action by all". "This has never been so achievable," he added, "given the rise in climate awareness among EU citizens, especially Europe's young people."
Welcoming the Fourth Report on the State of the Energy Union issued by the European Commission in April 2019, the Committee expressed once again its support for the objectives of the Energy Union and stressed the importance of the engagement and mobilisation of European society in its entirety to take full ownership.
Citizens should drive the energy transition and nobody should be left behind. The social implications of these changes have to be considered, with a new social pact between all parties involved. Citizens should also be able to contribute to all major political decisions relating to climate change, especially at EU level, through a permanent citizens' dialogue. (mp)