The external dimension of the EU’s energy policy (exploratory opinion requested by the Dutch presidency)

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EESC opinion: The external dimension of the EU’s energy policy (exploratory opinion requested by the Dutch presidency)

Key points:

 

Three factors are paramount for the external dimension of energy: diversification, "speaking with one voice" and a properly developed internal energy system.

1.Diversification of the EU’s energy source

  • The circle of energy import partners must be expanded.
  • New infrastructure projects contributing to the diversification should be in line with the objectives of the Energy Union Strategy and the EU acquis.

2. A "Speaking with one voice" policy must be pursued in spite of different energy mixes, energy import structures and traditional partners among the Member States. A common internal EU position is key to a strong external dimension. The EESC also urges the Member States to coordinate their individual energy interests and constantly maintain solidarity and transparency towards one another.

3.A strong internal energy system is the cornerstone for reducing external impact. One of the core dimensions of the Energy Union is the creation of a fully functional and transparent internal EU energy market that:

  • fully integrates the energy networks and systems of all Member States into the EU’s internal market and ensures that they are fully synchronised.

  • relies on the development of three key factors: renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and research and development.

As energy should be affordable for consumers and supportive of the competitiveness of industry, the EESC calls on the Commission and national governments to give a broad role to civil society, the social partners and consumer organisations. This is crucial for the establishment of an intelligent, efficient and sustainable EU external energy policy.