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18 October 2013 / EN

EUROPEAN ENERGY SECURITY Towards the future with safe and affordable energy for all

Declaration of the European People's Party Group in the Committee of the Regions

The European People’s Party Group in the Committee of the Regions:

  1. Highlights that Energy Security lays at the core of the Lithuanian Presidency and strongly supports its efforts aiming at the completion of the internal energy market by 2014, while putting an end to the isolation of member states from European gas, oil and electricity networks by 2015 and strengthening the external dimension of the EU energy policy;
  2. Reminds that the EU represents the second largest economy on the world stage, but also the world’s largest importer of gas and electricity. The challenge for the future leads to clean, reliable and secure energy through ambitious and innovative infrastructure projects, and an enhanced cooperation between the EU countries and non-EU energy resources suppliers;
  3. Recognizes that Europe’s energy dependence is a major challenge for the competitiveness of our economies while interconnection capacities between Member States often remain insufficient, generating dependency and isolation; market segmentation and lack of harmonization of market rules lead to high prices of supply for citizens, public services and industries, worsening the effects of the current crisis;
  4. Strongly supports the EPP objective of putting the EU on the path to growth requires the guarantee of competitive energy prices and a sustainable and secure energy supply;
  5. Stresses therefore the urgent need to implement an European interconnected energy network and an open, integrated and flexible EU internal energy market; the aim is to foster economic competitiveness and solidarity among Member States, incentivize the shift to a low-carbon economy, guarantee security of supply, fair market liberalization, affordable prices, increased choice and standards of service;
  6. Draws attention to the fact that a fully functional internal energy market will also help to meet the EU climate change objectives;
  7. Calls to step up the ambitions to fully implement the European Commission’s Third Energy Package that leads to a more equal and smart energy market system in Europe and secure energy supply while supporting economic growth and calls for the recognition of the key role of local and regional authorities in the 2013. Green Paper on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies
     
    As regard to a more accessible and affordable energy supply for all:
  8. Reiterates that the most effective way to improve security of supply and create savings for European citizens is better implementation of energy efficiency in production, transformation, distribution and consumption;
  9. points out the need for diversification of sources as well as suppliers in the EU’s energy mix and calls on the EU to speak with one voice vis-à-vis external energy exporters;
  10. Urges further development of smart networks at local and regional level as well as greater decentralised energy production with decentralised energy consumption;
  11. In this context, calls for more private and public partnerships to invest in infrastructure as well as an efficient allocation of EUR 200 billion designated in the EU budget by 2020 to create gas and electricity transmission grids and safeguard energy security;
  12. Recognizes that stimulating competition in this context would therefore lead to economic and financial opportunities and boost employment in the energy sector;
  13. Calls for modernisation and expansion of intelligent transition and distribution systems, greater flexibility of infrastructure as well as the improvement of creation and storage capacities in line with the guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure;
  14. Calls for more investment into research and innovation and encourages an effective dialogue and mutual cooperation between policy-makers at all levels of governance, business leaders and universities in addressing energy security challenges.

    As regard to the role of local and regional authorities:
  15. Underlines the need to better coordinate priorities and energy infrastructure projects on the regional and local level, including cross border cooperation in order to allow for more effective use of resources and a quick achievement of the objectives set in the Europe 2020 Strategy Flagship initiative on Resource efficient Europe while increasing economic, social and territorial cohesion;
  16. Asks that all projects and objectives related to the establishment of an EU internal energy market be duly taken into account in the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, which would also include funding available to local and regional levels of government;
  17. It is strongly convinced that the regional and local level has a key role to play in guaranteeing the security of supply as having responsibilities in planning, investment, public procurement, production, transport, and distribution of energy as well as improving energy efficiency and raising awareness among the citizens; in this context calls on subnational governments to adopt ambitious local and regional energy plans;
  18. Draws attention to the importance of disseminating good practices in the field of energy via initiatives like the Covenant of Mayors;
  19. Invites the EU regional and local authorities to support negotiations with energy suppliers and energy managing authorities in order to achieve more affordable and homogeneous prices of gas, oil and electricity, in the interest of the citizens and their domestic consumption, as well as that of the industrial sector.
  20. In this regard draws particular attention to the Small and Medium Sized enterprises, where energy costs are becoming an increasingly severe problem, with rates rising faster than for larger firms;
  21. Invites therefore all the policy makers at the local, regional, national and the EU level to cooperate to establish a trustworthy energy diplomacy and speak with a single voice;
  22. Looks forward to the conclusions of the Energy Conference of 4-5 November 2013 on the implementation of energy projects of common interest and the future for energy infrastructures. Insists that the role of the local and regional level is properly taken into account by all the stakeholders for the establishment of a modern, secure and safe European energy ecosystem.