23. 5. 2014 10:58

Polish Proposal Is a Good Basis for Further Discussion on Energy Security

The Czech Government shares concerns about the energy security in the EU and supports steps towards its strengthening. This is why the cabinet of Prime Minister Sobotka welcomes Polish proposal which was discussed by Government's Committee for EU on 21 May. The objective of the proposal is to deepen the cooperation among EU Member States while ensuring their energy security and creating so-called Energy Union.

The objective of the Polish proposal was to open and steer the discussion on more intensive cooperation among EU Member States in ensuring the energy security, notably in the area of gas supplies. This cooperation could be transformed into establishing the so-called Energy Union in Europe, in parallel to e. g. the Banking Union that is being developed at present or the European Coal and Steel Community that laid foundations to present European Union.

According to the proposal, the progress, achieved at the European level since the interruption of the gas supplies in 2006 and 2009 and which aims at establishing the common energy market and at implementation of the mechanisms that lead to ensuring the security of supply of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe, is insufficient. To solve the situation, Poland proposes a set of six measures and policies that should lead to ensuring the security of supply to the EU and notably to the Central and Eastern European countries which are dependant on one supplier.

The document, among other things, supports deepening of the internal energy market, development and modernisation of the infrastructure, strengthening of the mechanisms for security of supply in the EU, strengthening of the negotiating position of the EU and its Member States towards external suppliers of energy commodities, focus on the use of indigenous fossil fuels and improving the energy security of neighbouring countries.

It is a priority of the Czech Government, to focus on fastest possible development of the interconnecting infrastructure between individual countries, ensuring flexible financing of these strategic projects and seeking the most optimal solutions for gas purchases, under certain circumstances, and on the basis of positive experience of the Member States, with possible more prominent role of the European Commission. One of possible approaches could be the proposed mechanism for demand aggregation. Gas is being imported to the Czech Republic by private companies with no public participation and on the basis of commercial contracts. It is therefore important, that these companies have an option, where they are interested, to aggregate their demand and thus by joint negotiation gain more favourable terms than as compared to individual purchases.

Another priority of the Czech Republic is an effort to ensure the functioning of the liberalized energy market in the European Union. Czech Government sees an integrated European market with sufficient entry capacities and with sufficiently interconnected infrastructure for import and distribution of gas from various sources as one of the key conditions for energy security. That can be undoubtedly increased also by creation of regional emergency plans, which are supported by the Government, and which will, after their creation, be able to reflect regional specificities. Prime ministers of the Visegrad countries therefore agreed in mid-May that they would create such a plan for the Central European region and will jointly support also better interconnection of energy infrastructure.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Sobotka agreed unanimously on the priorities described above and on the general support for the proposal tabled by Poland. Czech Government wishes to actively participate in further elaboration of the proposal which it sees as a cornerstone for resolving the energy security of the European Union. The Government will actively support all steps towards ensuring the energy security of all European countries – and there is no doubt that a well functioning mechanism that strengthens European Union's negotiation position towards gas suppliers is one of the key tools for better energy security.

Tomáš Prouza, State Secretary for European Affairs

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