The EU was constructed on the steel and coal community – and we still do not have a single market for energy
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič
“When the EU finishes its legislation, then the homework moves to the Member States. It’s not enough to have a global agreement like the Paris one, but it is important to have a concrete vision in every Member State” - explained Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič. 100 people, mainly energy sector experts, MEPs, representatives of NGOs and students, participated in the Citizens’ Dialogue organized in Riga as a part of the Energy Union Tour II. The event was broadcasted live by 3 main Latvian online outlets.
Vice-President Šefčovič inaugurated the Dialogue by explaining shortly what the Energy Union means for Europe as a whole and for every Member State. He mentioned the Paris agreement and its consequences and commitments. He also stated that once the EU finishes the legislation process then “the homework moves to the Member States”.
For many participants it was particularly important to hear what Latvia is still obliged to do. “When we started with Energy Union, you were the energy island. You wanted Europe to focus on this issue. And you did a great job” - the Vice-President said and pointed out that gas interconnectors (linking Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland) are of the utmost importance.
Latvia has made great progress in that field, but what still needs to be done is to complete the synchronization of the Latvian electricity network with the European one.
While answering a question about the expected results of the Energy Union, the Vice-President replied that Member States need to feel more secure by having energy from different corners of Europe. He also admitted that so often in the past the EU Member States were played against each other.
In this context, the Vice-President said that despite the fact that the EU was constructed on the steel and coal community we still do not have a single market for energy.
The discussion then turned to the energy poverty issue. Some participants expressed their views that while talking about all investments we should not forget about people who are unable to pay for gas and electricity.
Another participant asked about the Nord Stream II pipeline saying that the European Commission promised to do something to stop this project. - "This is one of the polarizing projects, the fact is – this project started in a political manner, however promoters of this project say it is commercial. It is not in line with our diversification policy – the question is what we can do to operate within the legal framework" – Vice-President responded.
People were also asking about the need of investing more in solar and in other alternative sources of energy, they also indicated that the climate ambitions should be reflected in the EU new financial perspective.
The Citizens’ Dialogue in Riga was almost the 470th event of this type since the beginning of the Juncker Commission and was the 11th Dialogue to be organized in Latvia. The 12th CD in Latvia will take place also in Riga on 9 February with Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis.