Europe and Energy

The European Energy Forum had the honour and benefit of having Commissioner for Energy Günther H. Oettinger as its honorary guest at the dinner-debate of October 19th held in Strasbourg during the European Parliament’s plenary session. The Commissioner opened the debate with his presentation entitled: “Europeanization of energy policy.” The audience in attendance felt that the evening was a complete success. 
In his closing remarks, Giles Chichester thanked the Commissioner for his intervention and referred more particularly to:
•    the passion with which he talked about the Europeanization of energy, and his striking sense of vision
•    his vision in his reference to Russia as a partner for constructive dialogue 
•    the realism with which he addressed the topic which was both refreshing and encouraging. 
He added that the Commissioner was quite right about the divide and rule policy, something that we in Europe must guard against. He also congratulated the Commissioner for his impressive sense of humour. Interested readers can find the full text of the Commissioner’s presentation here.  
With respect to the European dimension of the energy issue, the Commissioner highlighted the following: “National sovereignty in energy is no longer an option when we have a single internal energy market, stretching from the Balkans to Scandinavia, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. Energy independence is an illusion when gas can move around Europe from Greece to Ireland. Member States are not rivals vis-à-vis third countries. We are in the same team. The energy security of every Member State will be stronger and cheaper when the EU learns to speak with a single voice and leverage its real power.” 
He also announced an upcoming initiative: “The new energy strategy I will present early November will follow these broad themes. The various elements will be the main topics for the European Council’s extraordinary meeting on energy on 4th February next year. The February Council is a unique chance to come to a more Europeanised energy policy, endorsed by Heads of State and Government. The European Council took the important step in 2007 on the energy policy targets. They can now help us push Europe towards a stronger, more coherent and more effective energy policy, for the good of all citizens. I welcome your support and input as we prepare for this important meeting.”
Interviewed by the daily “Les dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace” (22.10.2010, Strasbourg) on the conclusions of the Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis, Pervenche Berès – a member of the Committee and the rapporteur for its conclusions – stated that: “The European Union is the only integrated area that does not view the issue of energy as a strategic one… We must negotiate the Union’s supply contracts with a single voice…” 
Taken together, the statements of Commissioner Oettinger and Pervenche Berès (also President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs) lead us to expect that significant progress will be made for European energy policy at the extraordinary European Council meeting of 4 February 2011.”