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An Energy Union for the European Energy Transition

on October 8, 2012, 18:41
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An Energy Union for the European Energy Transition

The Jacques Delors Institute pursues its action for the development of an ambitious European Energy Union based on the proposal for an "European Energy Community" put forward by Jacques Delors in 2010.
This Energy Union is not only a way to enhance solidarity between European States and peoples, it is also a political project to foster the energy transition in Europe: to allow our energy systems to deliver sustainable, affordable and secure energy for all European businesses and citizens.
The meaning of the ‘Energy Union’ was detailed by the Jacques Delors Institute in its 2015 report “From the European Energy Community to the Energy Union”. Following-up on this report, the European Commission made public a far-reaching vision of the Energy Union in its 25 February 2015 Energy Union Framework Strategy. To ensure that the Energy Union stays on path with the vision laid out by Jacques Delors, the Jacques Delors Institute focuses on three key objectives:

- The Energy Union must be meaningful to energy consumers (i.e. businesses and citizens). This entails to overcome the business as usual attitude that, both in Brussels and in national capitals, make energy policy for the interests of energy suppliers rather than energy consumers.

- The Energy Union’s final objective is decarbonisation. In line with the Paris Agreement, Europeans should build a carbon-neutral energy system in this century, and this is easier to do in a Pan-European cooperation than through isolated national policies.

- The Energy Union must be a tool to enhance the sovereignty of European peoples. Among other things, this means that European energy security must be ensured to a level that allow Europeans to make the foreign policy choices they want, without being overly constrained by their energy needs.

To find concrete ways to achieve those objectives, the Jacques Delors Institute focuses in work on 5 dimensions for the Energy Union:

- Research & Innovation are crucial tools to foster the energy transition. This entails to go beyond a mere focus on technological innovation to focus on how to better introduce new practices, technologies, processes and behaviours in all organisation that produce, distribute or consumer energy.

- An efficient governance is key to foster the energy transition. This entails to go beyond the mere focus on EU vs. national levels. The energy transition calls for the articulation of all levels of governance, including the international level (e.g. Paris Agreement) as well as the local levels (e.g. cities), civil society and private sector initiatives.

- Financing the energy transition is a critical enabler for the energy transition. Beyond the focus on ‘green finance’, the energy transition is an element of the wider decarbonisation of our way of life. This mean that all financial flows have to be looked into, not only the ones related to public finance and/or that directly relate to green finance. In this change of mindset, the so-called ‘Juncker Plan’ can play a useful role.

- The Energy Union yet lacks a fully-fledged social dimension. Popular support to the Energy Union will be harder to gather if it is seen as an unfair project. The Energy Union should thus focus on creating better jobs for European workers and tackle the issue to energy poverty to ensure that everyone benefits from the basic energy services that are needed to live decently in Europe.

- Energy Security is a critical element to ensure that energy issues do not undermine the capacity for Europeans to set their own destiny. In this regard, the debate over Nordstream 2 is of critical importance to know whether ‘European Energy Solidarity’ is a reality, or only a slogan. 

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