02/25/2015, Berlin/Brussels

BDEW on the Commission’s Communication on an Energy Union:

New impetus for Europe's energy policy

Single market regulations must be implemented consistently / A market economy approach is the best way of ensuring a reliable natural gas supply

"The strategy document on the Energy Union unveiled today by the European Commission is an important framework for the restructuring of Europe’s energy policy. If the European Commission sets the priorities of the planned ventures correctly, the Energy Union project will be able to give the urgently required new impetus to the European energy policy." So says Hildegard Müller, President of the General Executive Management Board of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), on the occasion of today’s Communication from the European Commission regarding a strategic framework for an Energy Union.

From the point of view of BDEW, there continue to be considerable deficits as far as implementing a common energy policy among the EU member states is concerned. Many countries are striving for national energy self-sufficiency or are still failing to implement the single market regulations consistently. Some member states are therefore capping the end customer prices or not opening up their markets to the competition. “Full national independence is inefficient. Climate protection, competition and security of supply are, in principle, better realised on a European level. It is therefore right that the Commission sees its main task as ensuring that the existing obligations from the single energy market and the climate targets of the EU are reliably fulfilled by all member states,” Müller explains. The same applies to the plans for crisis prevention. From the point of view of the German energy sector, all member states must first comply with the existing European crisis prevention plan before further solidarity measures are undertaken between the member states.

The German energy sector also supports the measures planned by the European Commission for power supply security across national borders. "A common approach for ensuring sufficient amounts of secure energy in the electricity sector is absolutely essential. It has long been clear that the reform of the energy market structure is a European challenge rather than a national one," says Müller. She continues to say that it is therefore important that the debate on the future energy market structure initiated by the Federal Government is held from a clear European perspective.
The European Commission has also announced that the European regulatory framework will undergo a thorough review. As far as BDEW is concerned, such a review must be preceded by a comprehensive and detailed consultation and debate with all stakeholders. In general, BDEW is of the opinion that the existing regulatory framework should first be reviewed and fully utilized before further changes are made.

The European Commission also rightly emphasises that a market economy approach is the best way of ensuring a secure natural gas supply. BDEW believes a clearly defined demarcation of the roles and responsibilities between politics and commercial operations remains important. The commercial operations should, within the EU model of an open market economy, continue to independently negotiate all their contracts with partners from non-member states. BDEW therefore also believes there is no need for a central entity to organise the purchase of natural gas or other sources of energy. "The natural gas supply is best guaranteed by means of an open, solvent, well integrated and transparent European natural gas market with a range of supply sources, intelligent solutions on the sales side and a secure investment climate," says Müller.

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