European Union energy policy contains four objectives, not three or five. But sit through any high-level speech these days – such as those by Šefčovič and Arias Cañete due Monday (event link) – and more likely than not you will hear the opposite claimed.
In the new mandate, an “energy union” of five “pillars” could soon replace the former “energy triangle” of three “corners” (though the later idea is unlikely to die easily). Such a move is only a recipe for more chaos, confusion and delay.
If not fixed, it will only slow our recovery from the neglect and incompetence of the Barroso-Oettinger years. The resolution of real-world situations such as pollution into the sky and billions cash exiting our borders to buy ever more fuel will only stall.
EU energy policy in fact contains four objectives, laid out in the Treaty as follows:
1. In the context of the establishment and functioning of the internal market and with regard for the need to preserve and improve the environment, Union policy on energy shall aim, in a spirit of solidarity between Member States, to:
(a) ensure the functioning of the energy market;
(b) ensure security of energy supply in the Union;
(c) promote energy efficiency and energy saving and the
development of new and renewable forms of energy; and
(d) promote the interconnection of energy networks.
To get things done, we must avoid what is fashionable, vague or convenient for what is specific and known. To get things done, we also need to have a basic text common to all Union institutions rather than many different ad hoc texts in each. The treaties and existing legislation (the acquis) provide this. Courts cannot settle disputes on the basis on speeches or political declarations. Our Union is a union built on the rule of law already. Another new gimmicky union risks only to distract from the original authentic one.
So to help untangle the plate of cold spaghetti in front of us, I’ve quickly made the table below. It aims to summarise the different strands of the present debate, anchored in our treaty framework. I’m sure it could be improved and certainly it can be argued over. But it done quickly to share ahead of the Monday “energy union” launch conference (and thus this post at 11am Saturday).
Please let me know what you think, e.g. what if any changes would you make?