Speech at the European Parliament for the Romanian Energy Day 2017; Brussels. [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY]
Dear Minister Pecu,
Dear President Bodea,
Dear Member of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you know, today is a very important day for us as we just adopted a major legislative package on the future of mobility. I'm coming back from a press conference and from here I'm going to present it to the Plenary.
But I'm nonetheless very happy to be with you here!
The Romanian Energy Centre plays a very important role in the context of the Energy Union.
It animates the debate in the Romanian context.
It brings the discussions to Brussels,
just as much as we try to bring the discussions to the Member States (as I'll explain in a moment).
Most importantly: it has a regional approach. It is not oblivious to what is happening on the other side of Romania's borders. On the contrary it attempts to create synergies and work closely with stakeholders across the region. This is particularly important in the case of a regional energy hub like Romania.
I also very much welcome the topics you discussed here today and yesterday, which are each in the core of the Energy Union, a project I have been leading for the past 2.5 years which we are now bringing to fruition.
Yesterday you discussed CESEC 2.0 – this project is regional by its very essence and I'm very glad it today goes well beyond energy security and gas.
I appreciate that you support its extension by proactively discussing the aspects of renewables and energy efficiency.
You discussed energy poverty – a major issue and a very complex one, given the different competences and levels of decision making.
This topic naturally goes hand in hand with energy efficiency which is arguably the most effective and holistic way of dealing with energy poverty.
As you know, one of the main objectives of our Clean Energy for all Europeans package was to implement our energy efficiency first principle.
We are also proposing to raise a bar somewhat and to increase the ambition in energy efficiency to 30% binding – I very much hope that you will support us in the negotiations with co-legislators.
Today you also added digital into the discussion. This is obviously a major issue in the context of energy but we are also dealing with it in a larger context as part of our efforts to modernise Europe's economy as a whole. To make the EU the most competitive and innovative market in the 21st century.
I mentioned our attempts to bring the discussions from Brussels to the Member States. This is true for EU policies in general and for the Energy Union in particular. That is why I am in the midst of a tour to all Member States and I will visit Romania in September. I encourage MEPs from the country and the region to take ownership and help me bring the message to their constituencies.
I, myself, will try to make my visit as inclusive as possible and meet with the Romanian authorities and as many relevant stakeholders. I am also very grateful to the Romanian authorities that at this occasion Romania will host the yearly CESEC Ministerial Meeting and I would like to thank Minister Petcu for his invitation.
We will take stock of the progress made and agree on the future objectives and common actions.
For example, we hope to identify some market coupling and transmission projects between the EU and Energy Community Contracting Parties. This will help create a larger and more liquid regional market and will end isolation of the Balkan electricity markets.
In the area of renewables, an asset that this region is rich in, we will focus on reducing non-financial barriers and spreading best practices.
It is very important to me that the industry remains involved in CESEC and helps shape it with your ideas and needs. And it is equally important for me that Romania as a country remains an active player within CESEC. For example, Romania can play a more prominent role in gas and electricity trading in the region. This will help control energy prices and increase security of supply in Romania and the entire CESEC region.
Let me conclude by saying one quick word about the Clean Energy for All package. As you know, we proposed a new governance system for the Energy Union in order to make the Energy Union more robust and transparent and yet more lean. As part of it, we are asking Member States to present their national Climate and Energy Plans by the end of the year. I am telling you this because the national exercise is meant to be as inclusive and consultative as possible. This is therefore your opportunity to take part in the discussions in your own country as well as in your neighbouring countries. Make your voice heard!