The guidelines for the Energy Union presented by the European Commission are an important step towards improving the cooperation between member states with regards to security. However, in several key areas they differ from what was postulated by the Polish government at the start of the year. The conviction of countries with a strong negotiating position that they will independently achieve better condition on the international energy market could not be changed. As a result, the proposition does not include mandatory, common fuel purchases. The need for the development of solidarity energy supply mechanisms in case of crises was also signalized in a rather soft manner. Meanwhile – somewhat counter to the Polish postulate of full use of fossil fuels available in Europe – the proposition is decisive regarding the necessity of moving away for the use of these fuels and developing renewable energy.
Economic integration within the EU should undoubtedly take the cooperation of neighboring energy systems into account to a greater degree. The EC emphasizes the strategic importance of the need to cover as much as 53% of energy use with import from outside the EU, which makes member states’ economies more vulnerable to all sorts of external shocks on the fuel markets and to political risks. Building an internal energy market and increasing the energy efficiency of economies are the suggested solutions. It was stressed that this should be accompanied by increased solidarity, as well as close cooperation with EU’s neighbours. On the other hand, the EC is very strongly emphasizing the need to move on the a low-emission economy. The main pillars of the proposed Energy Union were specified as follows:
Specific guidelines include a.o.: voluntary common fuel acquisitions in specific situations, consulting gas contracts by the EC, creating regional anti-crisis plans, improving trans-border connections and cooperation mechanisms, diversifying supply sources and a diversification strategy for LNG. Atv the same time the document relatively strongly stresses that the EU should maintain its leading position as a producer of renewable energy.
What is important from Poland’s perspective is the manner in which the accepted guidelines will translate to specific actions and directives and eventual trans-border cooperation within the Energy Union. Today, member states are not aware that their energy development strategies can coexist with those of their neighboring countries. As far as the economic and political cohesion of the EU is concerned, it is absolutely vital that this mutual impact is recognized – both for particular states and the European market as a whole.
Jacek Brzozowski, adviser to the President of Employers of Poland