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Member states reassert sovereignty over energy mix ahead of EU summit

Council President Donald Tusk will chair the EU summit. [European Council]

Council President Donald Tusk will chair the EU summit. [European Council]

EXCLUSIVE / European Union governments have reasserted their authority over their national energy policies, before leaders meet to discuss the bloc’s plans for Energy Union on Thursday (19 March).

A more effective, flexible market design that will integrate renewables is needed, according to draft summit conclusions, obtained by EurActiv.

Any public energy subsidies at national level must not unbalance the internal market, the text says.

But the new design should ensure “the right of member states to decide their own energy mix is respected,” states the leaked paper, which is dated Monday 16 March.

In the weeks before the summit, diplomats thrash out a draft agreement, which is subject to change. EU heads of state and government usually agree on a set of political conclusions at the end of each European Council.

The reference to national sovereignty, added since the last draft, is significant. Especially as the latest conclusions now stress that national resources can add to energy security.

“Energy security can also be increased by having recourse to indigenous measures, as well as safe and sustainable low carbon technologies,” the new conclusions say.

Environmental campaigners fear this keeps the door open for national governments to frack for natural gas, and mine and use other fossil fuels.

Safe and sustainable low carbon technologies could be code for nuclear power or natural gas, they warned. NGOs Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace EU told EurActiv the conclusions were a backwards step.

EU supervisor

The European Commission’s proposals for an Energy Union, tabled in February, aims to bolster the EU’s resilience to supply shortages by moving energy around the bloc to make up shortfalls. The initiative gained political impetus after the Ukraine crisis brutally exposed the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas, but will require an unprecedented level of cooperation between member states.

A future governance framework, to be developed in 2015-16, will likely give some supervisory powers to a pan-EU authority.

>>Read whole story on @EurActiv

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This entry was posted on March 17, 2015 by in Best scoops, Energy, Journalism, Summits and tagged , , .

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