The power play that will decide the course of EU energy policy
Summary The EU heads of state and governments will carry a heavy responsibility when they decide on the 2030 EU goals for energy and climate at the summit meeting on 23 and 24 October. An ambitious energy policy could reduce Europe’s energy dependencies, which the crisis in the Ukraine has so painfully exposed. In addition to this, the right investments in energy infrastructure and efficiency carry great potential for growth and job creation at a time of economic stagnation in the EU. Finally, a strong and coherent energy and climate policy could consolidate the EU’s position as front-runner at the climate conference in Paris in 2015.
The Barroso Commission is behind the current threefold 2030 goal: To reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent, to increase the share of renewable energy to 27 percent of the energy consumption, and to reduce the total energy consumption by 30 percent.
However, the member states have yet to agree on one common course on energy policy. Certain Central- and East European countries have threatened to block the agreement, which they feel does not take their demands seriously. In this memo, Think Tank EUROPA outlines the main points of contention that will influence the power play and the negotiations at the summit.
The European Council must find a compromise between the different positions as well as a good balance between control and flexibility. An unambitious set of goals would ruin Juncker’s Energy Union before the project has properly taken off. The idea behind the project, according to Jean-Claude Juncker’s presentation to the European Parliament, is to make massive investments in energy infrastructure, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and less ambitious goals could reduce the incentive to make these investments.