Energy security blueprint for the EU's future energy strategy

Drawing on lessons from the recent gas supply crisis, the Industry Committee set out wide-ranging recommendations for the EU's future energy policy in an own-initiative report . It advocated emergency action plans, more grid interconnections among Member States and new climate targets to be achieved by 2050, including raising the share of renewables to 60% of total consumption.

The committee adopted by a large majority a report drawn up by French Liberal Anne Laperrouze (ALDE, FR) on the "Second Strategic Energy Review", which will be on the agenda for the 19-20 March European Council debate on the EU's future energy strategy.

Lessons learned: national and EU emergency action plans

In the aftermath of the recent gas supply crisis between Ukraine and Russia, which left many EU citizens without heating, MEPs call on the Commission to propose revising the 2004 Security of gas supply directive before the end of this year. The committee wants this revision to include "mandatory and effective national and EU emergency action plans" providing for:

  1. a common declaration of an emergency situation,
  2. the allocation of available supplies and infrastructure capacity among the affected countries,
  3. co-ordinated dispatching, and
  4.  the activation of emergency measures in unaffected or less affected states in order to increase the amount of gas available to the affected markets.

MEPs also stress that the EU should develop gas storage with fast-release capacity and that a single European gas grid should be established linking up all EU Member States. "Gas and electricity interconnections through Central and South-eastern Europe along a north-south axis" should be developed and especially the Baltic Sea region needed to be integrated into the Western European network, says the report.

New partnership agreement needed with Russia

Even with the help of ambitious energy saving plans, the EU is likely to still be dependent on third countries for supplies of fossil energy in the medium term, say MEPs. (compromise 15) The EU currently imports 50% of the energy it consumes - a proportion which could rise to 70% by 2030.

The committee supports negotiations for a wide-ranging new agreement replacing the 1997 Partnership and Co-operation Agreement with Russia, which supplies 42% of the EU's imported gas and over 30% of its imported crude oil.

More pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals

The committee also supports projects to diversify supply routes, such as the Nabucco, Turkey-Greece-Italy (TGI), and South Stream pipelines. "In the longer term, when political conditions permit, supplies from other countries in the Caspian region, such as Uzbekistan and Iran, should represent a further significant supply source for the EU", say MEPs.

MEPs stress that sufficient liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity is needed - meaning that liquefaction facilities in the producing countries and LNG terminals and ship-based re-gasification in the EU should be available to all Member States.

2050 climate targets: 60-80% less greenhouse gases, 60% renewables, 35% energy efficiency

Industry Committee MEPs also call on the EU's heads of states to adopt new climate targets to be achieved by 2050: a 60-80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, a 35% improvement in energy efficiency, and a 60% share of renewable energy in the EU's total energy consumption.

Saving energy is "the most effective and cost-efficient way of improving energy security", say MEPs, calling on the Commission and Member States immediately to adopt a legally binding energy efficiency improvement target of at least 20% by 2020. The two other "2020" targets - reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and increasing the share of renewable energy to 20% - are already fixed by the EU's climate change legislation, adopted in December 2008.

Nuclear power "at the highest technologically possible level of safety"

The committee considers it important to maintain nuclear energy in the EU's energy mix and calls on the Commission to draw up a "specific road map for nuclear investments".

MEPs stress that nuclear energy is to be used "at the highest technologically possible level of safety", adding that the EU's neighbouring countries, too, should adopt European nuclear safety standards every time a new nuclear plant is planned or an old one is upgraded.

Furthermore, MEPs say the Commission and Council should develop joint models and procedures together with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to prevent the peaceful use of nuclear energy from leading to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The report was adopted with 38 votes in favour, 5 against and 4 abstentions. -- Pzocedure: own-initiative -- Plenary vote: 2-5 February 2009.