MEPs and climate change campaigners divided over state of the energy union report

Climate change campaigners describe EU Commission energy report as nothing but "gas, gas, gas".

By William Louch

18 Nov 2015

The EU Commission today released its first state of the energy union report, assessing the progress Europe has made in completing a European Energy Union – a top priority of the Juncker Commission.

In February this year, the Commission adopted "A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy," aimed at securing Europe's transition to low-carbon, sustainable energy supplies while maintaining economic competitiveness.

The success – or not – of the energy strategy has divided opinion between the Commission, MEPs and environmental campaigners.


The Commission believes the findings of the report show that considerable progress has been made in realising the EU's energy goals.

Maroš Šefčovič, the Commission Vice-President responsible for the energy union, said the report demonstrates that; "Nine months down the road, we can say with confidence that we are on track to deliver the energy union."

Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for climate action and energy, also noted that; "A lot of progress has been made in these few months," before emphasising, "we should now move to full-scale delivery of all actions needed.

The Commission's findings were welcomed by the S&D's Vice-President on sustainability, Kathleen Van Brempt. She congratulated Šefčovič on his "tireless efforts to promote the energy union concept across so many states."

She continued, "together, we must seize the momentum to unite our efforts and effectively coordinate the transition towards an efficient and sustainable energy landscape."

Morten Helveg Petersen, of the EU Parliament's ALDE grouping, also welcomed the Commission's presentation on the state of the energy union, calling it "an important step forward in developing a genuine European single market for Energy, strengthening our energy security and delivering on our climate and energy objectives."

Claude Turmes, energy spokesperson for the Greens/EFA acknowledged that the "Commission has recognised some of the core priorities that need to be achieved in the context of the Energy Union." However, he believes the Commission has failed on its promise to, "make Europe the 'world number one' on renewable energy."

These sentiments were echoed by Wendel Triom, the director of CAN Europe, a Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of over 950 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

Triom said; "The energy union has not yet delivered on its promise of guiding Europe's transformation away from a fossil-fuel based economy."

He added; "The report does not provide clarity on how the current, inadequate climate and energy targets will be revised and strengthened. Such a gesture would have sent a clear signal of Europe's leadership ahead of the climate summit in Paris."

Greenpeace EU climate and energy policy adviser Bram Claeys, commented on vice-president Sefčovič's speech on the European Energy Union, saying; "After months of industry lobbying, it’s not surprising Sefcovic's head is full of nothing but ‘gas, gas, gas’. Swapping coal for gas will keep the EU dependent on foreign oligarchs and dodgy regimes, and slow down the transition to clean home-grown renewable energy. Decarbonisation, energy independence and self-sufficiency in renewable energy production should be the focus of developing a European energy union."

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