EU Energy Union Plan Meets German Resistance

  • Date: 24/02/15
  • The Local

European Commission plans to create a single market in energy, partly to reduce dependence on Russian gas, are sure to raise hackles in Berlin. The idea is sure to meet resistance among ministers in Berlin, who insist that the EU should continue to regard energy as a matter for national governments – a condition laid out in the treaties governing the EU.

Energy Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič presented plans in Brussels on Monday for an “Energy Union” aimed at helping EU members avoid shortages, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Šefčovič called it “the most ambitious plan since the founding of the Coal and Steel Community” in 1951, the intra-European organization widely seen as a forerunner of the modern-day EU.

But the idea is sure to meet resistance among ministers in Berlin, who insist that the EU should continue to regard energy as a matter for national governments – a condition laid out in the treaties governing the EU.

Under Šefčovič’s plan, barriers between the 28 national energy markets would be lifted.

He says that the move would reduce European dependence on Russian gas – taking away one of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s biggest diplomatic weapons – and attract investors to the industry.

The plan would also see any new deals with producing countries, like Russia, subjected to scrutiny from the European Commission to make sure they comply with EU law.

In a parliamentary answer last year, the German government said that such deals were a matter for the private companies involved.

“German firms have signed long-term contracts with Russian companies, some of them with a duration of more than 20 years,” the answer read.

“The government is not party to the contracts and has no influence on their contents.”

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