Plenary session of the EESC, 20/03/2013
Type: Complete speech
Brussels - EC/Charlemagne | Brussels - European Economic and Social Committee
On 20 March 2013, Günther Oettinger, Member of the EC in charge of Energy, participated in a plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee, in Brussels. The participants discussed the ways and means of involving civil society in the energy debate.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Günther Oettinger, Member of the EC in charge of Energy, and handshake with Staffin Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
||Statement by Staffan Nilsson (in SWEDISH) thanking Günther Oettinger for his presence and giving the floor to Stéphane Buffetaut, President of the TEN Section of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
||Statement by Stéphane Buffetaut (in FRENCH) that one year ago in Bratislava, he had vigorously supported the proposal made by Günther Oettinger concerning the review of the security measures for all the nuclear facilities across the EU; he had supported this initiative because he had been seduced by this idea of transparency, by the idea of informing citizens about the challenges posed by this energy; this initiative, which relates to nuclear energy only, should be extended to all the energy forms in Europe; harnessing energy has made industrial revolutions possible throughout history and supports the daily life of citizens and businesses; accordingly, it is important that citizens are informed and can participate in the debate on energy sources; we are entering a phase of energy resource scarcity for natural reasons (depletion of resources), but also because there is a greater demand from emerging countries in particular; it is time to move towards a kind of energy transition that makes greater use of renewable resources; energy choices have direct implications for the daily life of citizens and businesses (no economic sector can do without energy) and that is why they must be informed.
||Statement by Richard Adams, Member of the Various Interests Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) (in ENGLISH) on the opinion that has been drafted about the ways and means of involving civil society in the energy debate.
||Statement by Staffan Nilsson (in SWEDISH) thanking Richards Adams for his statement and giving the floor to the Commissioner.
||Statement by Günther Oettinger (in GERMAN) that he has read the opinion prepared by Richard Adams and considers his work to be highly competent; on this basis of this opinion, his Directorate-General has been able to refine its work on citizen participation; in the past, energy was a purely local and national issue, today, we are in a phase of the “Europeanisation” of energy jurisdiction and attempts to strengthen citizen participation; energy has changed our lifestyles, we are more mobile than previous generations and we have more leisure time, we have all kinds of electronic devices; citizens are well aware that they are reliant on energy and that the EU is the largest energy consumer; the share of the budget devoted to energy by citizens has gone from 10% to 13%, and this share is only going to grow; talking about specific points that are on the energy policy agenda and about which they can request citizens’ opinions, and giving the example of energy infrastructures; a Green Paper is to be published in which the EC presents its vision for energy in Europe (How can renewable energy be created? How can energy savings be made? How can CO2 emissions be reduced?); energy policies are calculated over the very long term, and at the moment, some EU countries do not want to be hindered by them. As a result, it is difficult to come to an agreement; citizens’ participation in the debate could ultimately enable an agreement to be reached.