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6. 11. 2007 9:33

ANO pro Evropu - Energy Forum: Energy Security as a Priority of the EU Presidencies

ANO pro Evropu – Energy Forum
vystoupení A. Vondry, místopředsedy vlády pro evropské záležitosti
Energy Security as a Priority of the EU Presidencies – 11.00-12.30
6.11.2007, Lichtenjštejnský palác

• Ladies and Gentlemen, I am glad I have the opportunity to speak today in this important event.

• With the prices climbing high, we have been lately witnessing the metamorphosis of energy from raw material into political material. The security aspect of energy policy is gaining importance – especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

• This is all but surprising – as you go East, our dependency and vulnerability, especially in gas supplies, increases.

o while Germany imports 42 % of its gas from Russia,

Czech Republic 70%, Hungary 80%, Slovakia 98% and Baltic countries are entirely dependent on gas imports from Russia.

= That is just one of many reasons why we would like to have

energy security very high on the list of our priorities during the Czech EU Presidency in 2009.

What would be our recipe for increasing the energy security of the EU?

I see four main instruments, all of which are more or less reflected in the priority areas of the Czech Presidency:

1) diversification of supply routes and sources via an enhanced ENP

2) transatlantic cooperation on energy

3) a genuine EU external energy policy based on solidarity

4) and last but not least, a genuine single energy market, a responsible energy policy based on long term investment in power generation capacities - but also an unlimited freedom to design a proper energy mix for each member country - as a vital precondition to all instruments that I already mentioned

1) Diversification of our supply routes and energy sources needs to be a key element of EU´s energy policy. While we need to cooperate both with Russia and Middle Eastern suppliers, which will with no doubt remain our main energy partners, we should reduce our reliance on them.

= The European Neighborhood Policy, which covers the Mediterranean, Caspian and Black Sea regions, seems to be a suitable framework for that:

o We should accelerate our investment in the Caspian region and prevent its reorientation to the East.

o We need to ensure a concerted action of EU, that would provide political backing for these countries, fearing retaliation of Russia.

o If we want to build alternative energy corridors, we may not forget the importance of Turkey as our indispensable strategic partner.

= The Czech Presidency would like to advance

a robust ENP in order to achieve all these goals.

= Energy security is also one of the many reasons why we relentlessly support the policy of keeping the doors open for the future Turkish membership in the EU

2) Transatlantic synergy and cooperation on energy. In a globalising world we need global alliances. As Zeyno Baran stated in one of her studies, today, US is more willing to discuss climate change, Europe is more willing to act jointly on energy. Why not take advantage of this opportunity? We should devise together effective strategies to counter various monopolies´ control over major energy supply, transport and distribution networks across Europe and Eurasia.

= Transatlantic cooperation belongs, too, to the key areas of priority of the Czech Presidency

= We also believe that a deeper Transatlantic dialogue could bring a more rational and realistic approach to our current debate on mitigation and adaptation to climate change

3) A genuine EU external energy policy. I see it as one of the main tools to bring a real energy solidarity in Europe into being, which would enhance our security. This concept, which I perceive as one of the main contributions of the new Member States to the European debate, is in my view vital for at least 3 things:

A) enhancing EU´s strength and credibility as global actor

B) for enabling us to take an active part in the formation of the global energy market and

C) ensuring our energy supplies by applying the principle of reciprocity in relations with third countries.

I dare to say that concrete deeds in this area are much more important than verbal competition in committments, that will be realised long after we, politicians, could be politically sanctioned for the outcome.

4) A genuine external energy policy is not thinkable without a strong single energy market. The two complement each other and cannot be separated. The Czech Presidency will most probably face the challenging task of completing the European energy market: The negotiations of the 3rd energy package, introduced by the Commission in September this year, are likely to culminate in 2009. We will take this task very seriously.

o We believe that a functioning common energy market, that will be the outcome of the 3rd energy package, will foster both maximum competition and higher energy security of EU.

o We particularly welcome those innovations of the package that will help to interconnect EU countries better and will introduce a genuine trans-European perspective, i.e.:

• The European investment plan, that will enable us to look at the investment needs for the electricity and gas networks from the European perspective, and not only at the individual requirements of each Member State

• The Agency for the Cooperation of European Regulators that will fill the regulatory gap in crossborder issues and will enhance the cooperation of national regulators

• Common rules for operating transmission networks that will help to avoid technical incidents leading to black-outs.

Last but not least, I have to say, we greatly appreciate the regard Commission has shown for the security concern of Central European member states and which led previously Czech Republic to oppose the full ownership unbundling.

• As Javier Solana very rightly said, we are facing a situation in which the liberalisation on the demand side has not quite been followed by liberalisation on the supply side. As both Russia and China are showing us that economic development does not have to lead to political reform and opening, as we´ve always assumed, I am glad that Commission has proposed a viable alternative to ownership unbundling in the form of independent system operators.

• Also, it is important for us to know, that under the 3rd energy package, non-EU companies will not be able to acquire a controlling stake in an EU network, unless they comply with the same unbundling requirements as EU companies.

5) Despite all our effort to achieve a genuine single energy market in Europe, we should admit that our continent is and will remain very diversified regarding the conditions for power generation in each member states.

Countries as Austria, Norway or Sweden can easily produce more than a half of their energy consumption in renewable cycles. Countries as Britain, Netherlands or Romania have their own gas resources to cover their domestic needs. Also there are different approaches towards the use of nuclear energy.

Therefore each country must keep its freedom to design the energy mix, which considers as a proper solution to meet its economic as ell as security concerns.

• Before I end my quite technical speech, let me mention an imminent risk that worries me since energy has rocketed to the top of our agenda. The promotion of European energy security does not always align neatly with EU´s broader policy priorities in third countries, such as preventing human rights violations, promoting democracy and rule of law.

- One example: Belarus. In 2006, European Commission adopted the „shadow action plan“ for Belarus. This plan imposed 12 very concrete political conditions on the authoritarian regime as precondition to its participation in the European Neighborhood Policy. One year later, Lukasenko is playing the energy card to bypass this plan and, alarmingly, EU seems to start considering the possibility to engage.

- Other very pressing example: Burma. I will not develop that further since there is a special conference today on this topic in the Parliament.

• Ladies and gentlemen, this is one more reason to act together and ensure our strategic energy security interests jointly on European level. Only this way we will be powerful enough not to be obliged to accept bitter compromises. Only this way we will be able to defend the values we and Europe stand for.

Thank you for your attention.

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