The consolidation of European countries around the issue of energy is a fact. The energy union is only starting to take shape, but it is already clear that its final shape will be decided by the member states’ activity. For this reason, we should be more decisive in expressing our fears and expectations, as well as in presenting suggestions for solutions.
Given the current economic tensions in the EU, the new economic model will an increasingly more significant impact on the EU’s functioning. The energy union will be one of its important elements – an initiative developed from a solution for improved energetic security suggested by Poland in early 2014. It final form is hard to predict, as it will be influenced by political will, negotiating power and the readiness to elaborate clear initiatives of participating countries. However, the union will certainly impact on Polish economy, so we should actively participate in the discussion on its mechanisms. Not all of the ideas proposed by Poland gained support, while some aspects unfavourable for our country have been strengthened further by the European Commission.
On the one hand according to the European Commission, the energy union is to be a more advanced manifestation of a cohesive European energy policy. Plans confirm the EU’s ambition to retain its position as a global leader in environmental efforts. Thus, we can expect a strong negative impact of solution initiated by the union on Polish industry as a result of emphasis on de-carbonization. This could lead to significantly worse terms of trade for Polish products, resulting from the prominent role of coal in Poland’s energy mix. On the other hand, the establishment of the union may improve the situation of smaller countries and countries with a weak negotiating position vis-a-vis external energy suppliers. Despite the fact that a common purchase framework and solidarity policy could not be agreed upon, even restricted cooperation in fuel purchases could improve Poland’s situation in negotiations. Moreover, we should also be among the beneficiaries of the diversification of energy resource import and infrastructure development. Gradual market integration will create new challenges and opportunities for both recipients and suppliers. Domestic recipients may lose the competition with those from richer countries and producers may lose to suppliers with a more balanced technology portfolio.
In 2016-2017, legislative and non-legislative changes related to the establishment of the energy union will take place in five main areas:
Jacek Brzozowski, adviser to the President of Employers of Poland