Eleven options, no priorities

The Commission (DG Energy) invited national administrations and a few guests to discuss “EU energy security strategy” last Monday morning (5 May). The leaked agenda is copied here:

Screenshot 2014-05-06 at 9.56.34 AMThe meeting came just ahead of the G7 ministerial in Rome, starting later the same day, but was mainly intended to help prepare “by June a comprehensive plan for the reduction of EU energy dependence” requested on 21 March by the European Council (#EUCO).

The prospects for having an effective debate in a big meeting lasting only 2.5 hours is debatable. Thirty delegations would give a maximum of four or five minutes each. But to me what stands out most is a complete lack of prioritisation. Of eleven options listed, none are indicated as priorities. And so far as can be seen, none are evaluated as having relative benefits as compared to the others e.g. in terms of speed, scale or costs.

Whereas the March European Council said clearly that “moderating energy demand through enhanced energy efficiency should be the first step” (§19; my emphasis), this issue was the last step on Monday. Maybe they ran out of time before getting to that point, e.g. if Oettinger was dashing to airport for his Rome flight?

Save for the reference to inter-connection projects (PCIs), there is no sense of what the Union is already doing or has already achieved. Any links between the “Russia-Ukraine crisis” and the global climate crisis are also absent.

Even though the next #EUCO is not until late June, Dominique Ristori says he aims to have the work ready by the end of this month. This make some sense in order for Council delegations to consider the outcome beforehand and will also allow Europe to share its thinking at the Brussels G7 Summit on 4-5 June. However for the officials responsible it leaves almost no time (~3 more weeks) to do any substantive policy development.

What is the status of the “comprehensive plan” e.g. as compared to the 2030 energy & climate “framework” that the Commission tabled only in January? In a formal sense, probably none: both are only political texts in College. Informally, who knows? Watch this space.

Updated 9 May: Full list of registered participants.

—o0o—

If you have other info on last Monday’s meeting (esp. outcomes, next steps) or any other aspect of the EC energy security file that you would like to share here then please contact me in full confidence.

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