After intense work on the positions of the European Economic and Social Committee regarding the economic-monetary union and external representation of the eurozone, which took place last week, this time efforts of Employers of Poland will focus on European energy policy. On Monday, February 15th, the first meeting of the analytic group elaborating the Committee’s opinion on the external aspect of energy policy will be held. It will be attended by Vicepresident Janusz Pietkiewicz.
For the EU, a strong position in terms of energy is linked to providing energetic security, competitiveness and meeting the consumers’ needs. Efforts to improve energetic security and restricting EU’s dependency on export (according to figures from 2013, the EU imports 53.2 percent of its energy, including 44.2 percent of its solid fuels, 87.4 percent of its oil and oil derivatives and 65.3 percent of its natural gas) will include a.o. investments in renewable energy sources, research and development (providing access to tools improving the efficiency and lowering the costs of energy production) and diversification of supplies. The latter issue is particularly important in external relations. Therefore, the group will discuss relations with third parties, such as Norway, the potential of the Mediterranean (in light of the discovery of gas near the shores of Egypt in 2015), closer energy ties with Central Asia, connecting the Caspian Sea region with the EU market, TTIP and strengthening the partnerships with Canada, Turkey and Algeria.
The EESC will call on member states to coordinate individual economic interests and maintain solidarity and transparency through the implementation of proactive initiatives and agreements with third parties. The action plan for energy diplomacy passed by the Foreign Affairs Council in 2015 is another key element of external relations. The plan involves the pursuit of energetic objectives in a sustainable manner through cooperation between member states and the promotion of European economic interests in relations with non-member states. Another pillar of the plan is the strengthening of the Energy Union – an instrument unifying and propagating the principles of the internal energy market in the EU. Apart from the Union, thanks to which neighboring countries assume the EU energy output, Platform 3, devoted to the energy security of the Eastern Partnership and the integration of markets through systemic oil and gas connections.
Moreover, the Committee wants to emphasize the key role of the common EU energy market as an internal factor exerting direct influence on the efficiency of the approach to external affairs.
In the course of discussing this opinion, the Committee will also address lowering the EU’s susceptibility to external influence and increasing its international competitiveness.
Renata Karwowska, foreign affairs specialist