Today the second EU-Norway Energy Conference "A reinforced energy partnership between Norway and the EU" took place in Brussels. The conference opened with keynote speeches by Günther Oettinger, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Energy, and the Norwegian Minister for Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien. More than 150 delegates attended the conference. It focused on EU-Norway energy cooperation, in particular on recent developments in power and gas markets, renewables and on security of supply issues.
Vice-President Oettinger and Minister Lien also met in the framework of the European Commission-Norway Energy Dialogue. Several key areas of energy cooperation were addressed, such as security of supply, the latest developments in EU and Norwegian energy policies, energy security stress tests, carbon capture and storage and the Internal Energy Market.
For decades, Norway has been a reliable partner of the EU. 92% of Norway's oil exports and more than 98% of its gas exports have been delivered to EU countries.
Today Vice-President Günther H. Oettinger met with Icelandic Minister for Industry and Commerce Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir as part of a high-level roundtable on geothermal energy in Europe. Over 60 high-level Icelandic and EU representatives from geothermal industry, academia and finance met to discuss barriers to the growth of geothermal energy and, in particular, geothermal district heating in Europe. At the roundtable it was emphasised that more support from policymakers is needed to improve the contribution of secure, stable and indigenous renewable heat to the overall European Energy mix and that many lessons can be learned from Iceland's exemplary leadership in this field. Iceland is a world leader in the use of geothermal district heating. Today, almost 90% of Iceland's houses and buildings are heated by natural hot water. Europe has considerable potential for geothermal energy and further development thereof would assist many EU Member States in achieving their renewable energy targets and becoming more self-sufficient.
At today’s meeting in Moscow with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Vice-President of the EU Commission Günther H. Oettinger reiterated his proposal to have an interim solution including an interim price.
Both agreed that a solution should contain the following four elements:
- the interim price
- the fulfilment of all supply and transit obligations
- a repayment plan for the unpaid bills to be developed by the next few weeks
- the use of OPAL pipeline
At the press conference following the bilateral meeting, Vice-President Oettinger said:
- “We have to agree on an interim gas price for the next few months, while waiting for the Stockholm arbitration court to decide on the final price. In addition: Ukraine has to pay an account for the gas to be delivered in the months to come."
- “Our main goal is to secure gas supply to the EU and its citizens, but also to the citizens in Russia, Ukraine, the Western Balkans, including accession countries and Moldova.”
Speaking about the worsening situation at the Eastern border of the Ukraine, Vice-President Oettinger expressed his concern:
- "I came to Moscow to prepare the next trilateral gas talks as agreed in Minsk. At the same time, I have to express my concern. The news that Russian soldiers are operating inside Ukraine does not reflect the spirit of Minsk. Respecting the sovereignty of national borders is vital to preserve peace."
The European Commission has released today the "Communication on Energy Efficiency and its contribution to energy security and the 2030 Framework for climate and energy policy". The Communication is a strategy that proposes mid and long-term objectives for the EU's energy efficiency policy and explains how these objectives can be achieved. It assesses progress towards the EU's 20% energy efficiency target for 2020 and proposes a new 30% target for 2030. This new target will drive Europe towards increased competitiveness, sustainability, and security of supply. More specifically, it will generate new jobs, provide opportunities for European businesses such as construction firms, and reduce our natural gas imports by 30%.
The EU is well positioned to reach its new target for 2030, being on track for the 2020 target. The Communication indicates that the EU will achieve the 2020 target provided that the existing legislation is fully and properly implemented by the Member States. Reaching the proposed 2030 target requires these policies to be strengthened over time. The Commission will continue to work closely with the Member States to undertake the necessary short-term and long-term actions.
The Energy Efficiency Communication is an important component of the 2030 Communication on energy and climate change, released in January 2014, which proposed new 2030 targets for greenhouse gas reductions and renewable energy – 40% and at least 27% respectively.
EU leaders agreed to propose Jean Claude Juncker to the European Parliament for President of the European Commission and defined the strategic agenda of key priorities for the next five years. The European Council took also stock of progress made on the 2030 climate and energy policy framework and looked at a set of most urgent measures to strengthen Europe’s energy security.
Le dernier Conseil Energie de la Présidence grecque s'est déroulé le 13 juin à Luxembourg. La Commission européenne était représentée par le Commissaire à l'énergie Günther H. Oettinger.
Le Conseil est parvenu à un accord politique sur la question du changement indirect de l'affectation des terres agricoles lié à la production de biocarburants. Cet accord a été suivi par un débat d'orientation approfondi sur les domaines prioritaires de politique énergétique tels que la sécurité énergétique, l'achèvement du marché intérieur de l'énergie et le cadre pour l'énergie et le climat à horizon 2030. Les ministres de l'énergie ont également discuté de la question des prix et coûts de l'énergie. Les conclusions du Conseil sur les prix et coûts de l'électricité, les consommateurs vulnérables et la compétitivité ont été adoptées.
La Présidence grecque et la Commission ont fait le point sur les derniers développements intervenus dans les relations énergétiques extérieures de l'UE. La Commission a également informé les Ministres des dernières évolutions dans le domaine de l'énergie nucléaire. A la fin de la réunion, la délégation italienne a présenté son programme pour la prochaine présidence de l'UE qui débutera en juillet.
En réponse à la situation géopolitique actuelle et à la dépendance de l'UE vis-à-vis des importations, la Commission européenne préconise une nouvelle stratégie européenne pour la sécurité énergétique principalement axée sur la diversification des sources d'approvisionnement extérieures en énergie, la modernisation de l'infrastructure énergétique, l'achèvement du marché intérieur de l'énergie de l'UE et les économies d'énergie. La stratégie met aussi en lumière la nécessité de coordonner les décisions prises dans le cadre des politiques de l'énergie nationales et l'importance de parler d'une seule voix lors des négociations avec les partenaires extérieurs. Elle s'appuie sur les progrès déjà enregistrés depuis la crise du gaz de 2009. Les propositions de la Commission, y compris en ce qui concerne les mesures visant à assurer la continuité de l'approvisionnement pour l'hiver prochain, seront examinées par les chefs d'État et de gouvernement lors du Conseil européen des 26 et 27 juin.
Le Commissaire Günther Oettinger a déclaré: "Nous souhaitons des partenariats forts et stables avec les grands fournisseurs, mais nous devons aussi nous préserver du chantage politique et commercial. L'UE et ses États membres ont fort à faire: nous devons, ensemble, renforcer notre solidarité avec les États membres les plus vulnérables. Il nous faut en outre achever le marché intérieur de l'énergie, améliorer l'infrastructure, être plus rationnels dans l'utilisation des ressources énergétiques et mieux exploiter celles dont nous disposons. Enfin, nous devons accélérer la diversification des fournisseurs d'énergie extérieurs, notamment pour le gaz. Nous n'avancerons qu’en appliquant des mesures concrètes."
Today European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, EU Energy Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk discussed on ways ahead for EU energy on the occasion of the conference "Paving the way for a European Energy Security Strategy". President Barroso provided orientations on a "European Energy Security Strategy", which the European Commission intends to present ahead of the European Council of 26 and 27 of June. Commissioner Oettinger focused on how to strengthen Europe's security of supply and Polish Prime Minister Tusk presented his proposal for an Energy Union for Europe. In the morning, energy leaders discussed issues such as completing the internal energy market, saving energy, increasing domestic energy production as well as diversifying sources, routes and counterparties of energy imports.
The European Commission has launched the first call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help finance key trans-European energy infrastructure projects. A total of €750 million will be made available for first priority projects mainly in the gas and electricity sectors. These projects will address security of supply issues and help bring an end to the energy isolation of some Member States. They will also contribute to the completion of the EU-wide internal energy market and to the integration of renewables to the energy grid. The EU funding will accelerate investment in missing cross-border links by leveraging the necessary private and public funding.
European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said: "This is a crucial step. Such a huge amount of EU financial support will make a solid difference. The current Ukraine crisis underlines the importance of upgrading energy infrastructure and building missing interconnections between Member States in order to enhance the energy security in the EU. In general Member States can only help each other with energy supplies, if they are well connected. Moreover, improving the energy infrastructure is a prerequisite for completing the internal energy market for the benefit of consumers and businesses in the EU."
Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger met in Rome the Energy Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States to discuss ways to strengthen collective energy security.
A joint statement was issued addressing energy security as a collective responsibility. Energy leaders agreed on a way forward which should focus on ensuring the diversification of the energy mix, proactive policies in the field of energy efficiency, the diversification of sources and routes, infrastructure protection and consistency with the longer term climate change goals. The G7 Energy also ensured assistance to Ukraine as regards energy security, reminding that today a broader energy security strategy is needed to address the larger dimensions of the globalized energy markets. Moreover, Energy leaders agreed on concrete immediate actions, such as complementing the efforts of the European Commission to develop energy emergency plans for winter 2014-2015 at a regional level. It also called the International Energy Agency to present, together with the European Commission, options for individual and collective actions of the G7 in the field of gas security.