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Cañete demands faster green energy shift

EUROPE: The European Union (EU) should accelerate its transition to a low-carbon economy in order to address the challenge of increasing geopolitical uncertainties, the energy commissioner has said.

EU commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete (pic: Arno Mikkor / Wiki Commons)
EU commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete (pic: Arno Mikkor / Wiki Commons)

First published on Ends Europe

Miguel Arias Cañete made the call while making a speech at the fourth annual EU Energy Summit in Brussels.

He said the uncertain international geopolitical situation made it more pressing for EU policymakers to push ahead with plans to finalise the EU’s Clean Energy Package and work towards an ambitious energy transition.

In "an increasingly uncertain world", he said, the EU was still heavily dependent on fossil fuels and the energy transition remained the EU’s "strategic answer to the geopolitical uncertainties we are facing".

He added that the EU’s energy import dependency on natural gas was a challenge, as 76% of the EU’s gas imports came from just two countries in 2016 — Norway and Russia.

In contrast, the EU’s oil and coal are imported from around the world from multiple suppliers.

Cañete said the EU had learned its lessons from the gas crisis of 2009 and 2014 when disputes between Russia and Ukraine flared up.

This led to the calling of an EU Energy Union, which aims to make the EU’s energy more secure, affordable and sustainable.

He said that in the short to medium term, the EU must make sure that its imports come from an increasingly diversified range of suppliers that are pricing the energy competitively, especially with respect to natural gas.

He acknowledged that Russia would remain a key energy supplier for the EU in the short term.

"What is important is to ensure that Russian energy supplies into Europe are subject to competitive pressures from the existence of other suppliers able to compete anywhere across our market," Cañete said.

Cañete also explained that the EU’s push for the wider use of renewable energies will help to mitigate its import dependency for oil and gas.

He said good progress was being made in the discussions with the European Council and European Parliament on the Clean Energy Package proposals and he expected them to be adopted before the end of this year.

First published on Ends Europe

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