On Tuesday 20th of January, PubAffairs Bruxelles hosted a debate on the theme of energy security. We reproduce here extracts of the highlights published on PubAffairs Bruxelles' website.
The debate was moderated by Mrs Suzanne Lynch, EU Correspondent for The Irish Times, while the discussants were Mr Gaspard Demur, DG Energy, European Commission, Mr Algiras Saudargas MEP (EPP/LT), Mr Benedek Jávor MEP (Greens-EFA/ HU) and Mr Gonzalo de Mendoza Asensi, Member of the Cabinet of the Commission for Climate Action and Energy, who also gave an introductory speech.
The first main point of discussion consisted in the balance between short-term and long-term solutions through the example of liquified natural gas (LNG).
Mr Saudargas replied first to this question by saying that, from an economic EU-wide point of view, LNG import is probably not the optimal long-term solution. However, it should also be pointed out that LNG import reduces geopolitical risks.
Mr De Mendoza replied by premising that, should EU member states appropriately coordinate their actions, the European Union will find its way to a safe energy supply system. He continued by stating that the Juncker plan aims at unleashing resources for both new energy infrastructures and grid modernisation, which is of capital importance in order to exploit renewable energies. He concluded by saying that energy efficiency strategies are also an important part of long-term solutions.
Mr Demur stated that LNG has proven to be a good diversification tool for several countries in Central and Eastern Europe, but the price dimension is a factor which should be also taken into account. For these reasons, it would be interesting to discuss also with other important LNG importers such as Japan, China or India on LNG possible future developments.
Mr Jávor agreed on the fact that in a crisis situation LNG could be a solution for the security of supply, however, he added that this kind of energy is still expensive. He also pointed out that terminals in Europe are under-exploited. He added that there is no energy investment in Europe as a result of both capital scarcity and regulatory risk, whereas if we consider that the power plant stocks must be renewed, we should realise that Europe should exploit this momentum in order to renew its energy production system in order to establish a more environmentally sustainable model.
Another focal point of discussion consisted of the different sensitivities on energy-related issues among European institutions.
Mr Saudargas stated that the EU has so far made great efforts in order to enhance its energy policies and that the Juncker plan is a part of these endeavours. He added that the maximum common denominator should be retained as the golden rule, especially by the European Parliament.
Mr Jávor replied to this question by stating that the Energy Union, although in progress, is still to be defined in details, a fact which lies at the actual core of the political and institutional debate.In addition, he observed that some member states are still tempted to find individual rather than coordinated solutions.
On the same issue, Mr Demur recalled the importance of the internal market dimension, while Mr de Mendoza emphasised how the new structure of the EU Commission, in addition to the choice of merging climate change and energy issue are already signs of a renewed impulse from EU institutions.
For the full highlights, visit PubAffairs Bruxelles' website.