EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding of the High Level Group on Central and South Eastern Europe Gas Connectivity by Maroš Šefčovič, in the presence of Miguel Arias Cañete, standing, on the left, and Ivan Vrdoljak, Croatian Minister for Economy, standing in the centre. (EC Audiovisual Services, 10/07/2015)

Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding of the High Level Group on Central and South Eastern Europe Gas Connectivity by Maroš Šefčovič, in the presence of Miguel Arias Cañete, standing, on the left, and Ivan Vrdoljak, Croatian Minister for Economy, standing in the centre. (EC Audiovisual Services, 10/07/2015)

Last week, amid uncertainty driven by the Greek vote in the referendum, an important step towards Energy Union was taken. Fifteen EU and Energy Community countries signed a deal to accelerate the building of gas infrastructure, and so to reduce their long lasting reliance on Russia. Ministers from Ukraine and other fourteen countries, more than half of them from the former Soviet bloc, met in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on July 10, and agreed to endorse an action plan to improve energy infrastructure and to formally move towards the development of a fully integrated energy market.

Seven Projects

The Memorandum of Understanding, which would “pave the way for the closer integration of the EU and Energy Community energy markets”, as stated by the European Commission, officially launched seven gas-linked projects that should be eligible for financial support. Projects, such as the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is set to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, an LNG terminal in Croatia and system reinforcement in Bulgaria and Romania, which have been set as top priorities. They also include gas interconnectors between Greece and Bulgaria and between Serbia and Bulgaria.

A crucial plan

EU Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, who supervised Dubronik agreement, said: “The improvement of infrastructure through realistic and feasible projects is crucial to diversify energy resources and strengthen the region’s resilience to supply shocks”. “Cooperation among the countries of the region is key in this regard. I myself and the entire Commission support this process, notably in the framework of the European Energy Union Strategy”, he then added.

Heavy dependency on Russia

The crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s decision to cancel the Gazprom-led South Stream project, last year, have once more alarmed the EU for the heavy dependency on Russian gas supplies. Russia procures almost 27 percent of the gas that keeps the EU warm in the winter, and a consistent part of it still flows through pipelines crossing Ukraine. The 63 billion cubic metres per annum-South Stream draft was actually a crucial project for Europe, and Russia’s decision in December last year to drop it as a consequence of the Ukrainian crisis left Brussels with the need to have all nations working together on protecting energy supply.

“The EU’s domestic production is decreasing, and it might lead to increased EU dependency on imports,” Sefcovic told the gathering last Friday. “We must make sure that our supplies are diversified. We need to make sure that nobody will be in a dominant position that would negatively influence our energy security.” The official EU statement indeed shows that the infrastructure projects will “help to diversify supply sources”, and that ultimately, each Member State in the region should have access to “at least three different sources of gas”.

The EU is hungry for energy

Although Dubrovnik agreement marks the time for a very ambitious new approach on energy for the whole Old Continent, the question is very delicate, and a full resolution of the heavy need of energy in Europe is possibly still quite far away. First of all because of the size of this “gap” in energy supply European states suffer from. The EU imports 53% of all the energy it consumes at a cost of more than 1 billion Euros per day.

Now, think about all the amounts are currently discussed these days on the subject of bailouts, debts and financial movements, and then read again that figure. Energy alone makes up more than 20% of total imports of the European macro-region. As official EU research explain, the EU imports specifically 90% of its crude oil, 66% of its natural gas, 42% of its coal and other solid fuels and up to 40% of its uranium and other nuclear fuels.

Financial labyrinth

Further, financing such a project won’t be too easy, let’s say. In general, infrastructure projects should be financed by the market participants, as explained by EU’s official channels, but most of the concerns in this kind of matters usually lay on quotas and the breakdown of responsibilities.

However, the EU has specified that, with regard to this particular topic, were necessary “for their timely completion” and the involvement of the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development “will be considered by the CESEC countries”. The EU also stressed that project promoters are also “encouraged in particular to make use of the opportunities offered by the new European Fund for Strategic Investment”.

The topic as a whole and particularly the dependency on external energy supplies of the EU has become more and more important in the last few years. Already in 2010, in order to help protect against gas disruptions, the EU reinforced its security of supply laws with the adoption of the Security of Gas supply and Regulation and tried to raise awareness among its Member States.

“A well-connected EU energy market […] is a pre-condition for creating a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate policy”, as the Energy Commission stated last week, is for sure the basis to “ensure secure, affordable and sustainable energy for all EU citizens and businesses”.

Having all Member States working together and sharing duties is the only key to make it happen.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Electronic or conventional cigarettes – which is safer?

Questions and Answers about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

8 things we need to do to tackle humanitarian crises in 2019

Why do overwhelming proportions of EU’s youth feel excluded?

Relieving the suffering of dying: Home Palliative Care as a spiritual coping strategy

The “Colombo Declaration” adopted at the World Conference on Youth 2014

These are the top risks for doing business around the world

I cycled over 6,000km across the United States to document climate change. Here’s what I learned

Strengthening the EU’s autonomy – Commission seeks input on a new anti-coercion instrument

Here’s how innovation could help car companies hit by COVID-19

How has technology changed – and changed us – in the past 20 years?

How Japan and Singapore are reinventing old age

Workplace bullies could now go to jail in South Korea

Warmongers ready to chew what is left of social protection spending

Eurostat overturns Commission’s assessment of the economy

Declaring commitment to ‘peace and stability’ for Libya, top UN envoy steps down as stress takes its toll

November infringements package: key decisions

Why COVID-19 shows the future not the end of globalization

Fighting Terrorism Online: EU Internet Forum committed to an EU-wide Crisis Protocol

ICC Appeals Chamber acquits former Congolese Vice President Bemba from war crimes charges

Circular Plastics Alliance: 100+ signatories commit to use 10 million tons of recycled plastic in new products by 2025

Coronavirus: Commission proposes a Digital Green Certificate

Coronavirus update: COVID-19 likely to cost economy $1 trillion during 2020, says UN trade agency

Telemedicine: union when the rule is isolation

Dual food quality: Commission releases study on sensory differences in food products

How artificial intelligence is redefining the role of manager

Africa cannot afford to lose doctors to COVID-19

People talk less now than during the Cold War, says Merkel at Davos

COVID-19: latest on evaluation and authorisation of vaccines

Unequal burden: how the COVID-19 pandemic is adding to women’s workloads

4 ways to build resilience to digital risks in the COVID-19 era

Reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey: annual assessments and recommendations

3 reasons why business leaders can’t afford to ignore diversity

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

Some endangered languages manage to thrive. Here’s how

A perfect storm is pushing children in sub-Saharan Africa into crisis

More than nine in ten children exposed to deadly air pollution

We have a chance to build the gender-equal workplaces of the future. Here’s how

5 ways to go green in your own kitchen

3 reasons why civil society is essential to COVID-19 recovery

Microplastics have spread right to the sea bed, study finds

90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

These Dutch microgrid communities can supply 90% of their energy needs

EU-Turkey relations are at a historic low point, say MEPs

To Brexit or not to Brexit: British exceptionalism doesn’t allow any Obama telling Brits what to do

Medical Devices Regulation: Commission welcomes Council support to prioritise the fight against coronavirus

Kellen Europe Hosts EuroConference 2016

Who cares about the unity of Ukraine?

‘Vaccines are safe’ and save lives, UNICEF declares, launching new #VaccinesWork campaign

UN updates guidelines to ensure successful return to civilian life for former combatants

Regional competitiveness and growth: a Gordian knot for Europe

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct of Amazon

EU reconfirms support for Afghanistan at 2020 Geneva Conference

Across Europe, people are struggling to make ends meet. We need a common response immediately.

Help prevent children ‘from becoming victims in the first place’, implores Guterres at campaign launch

OECD Secretary-General: coronavirus “war” demands joint action

Why the 21st century’s biggest health challenge is our shared responsibility

MWC 2016 LIVE: Freemium MVNO model a success, claims FreedomPop head

Why we all need farmers to have access to better seeds

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s