By Maj-Britt Meyer Hansen, 12. June 2007
A new EU treaty with a separate chapter on energy is a political necessity if European heads of state and government are to fulfil the new and very ambitious energy and climate targets.
- Not having a chapter dedicated to energy will make it more difficult to adopt the new EU legislation needed to ensure a genuine and efficient European energy market with effective competition, said Camilla Rosenhagen, EU Manager at the Danish Energy Association.
The scope of the challenge was obvious to the EU's 27 energy ministers at their meeting the other day in Luxembourg. During the meeting, the ministers committed themselves to a new round of liberalization intended to boost competition in the energy market.
But problems arose even before the meeting. The work on the round of liberalization gave rise to intense controversy and discord about the extent of the Commission's legal mandate. As energy is not covered by the current EU treaty, all new initiatives on energy must be based on rules governing other areas such as the environment or the single market.
- It complicates and bureaucratises work on the Commission's many energy proposals. At worst it may put the EU's new ambitions on energy at risk, Camilla Rosenhagen said.
Since energy policy is international by nature, it would be highly convenient for the new EU treaty to include a separate chapter on energy. Before long the German EU Presidency will present a proposal for a new EU treaty, most likely a slimmed-down version with little mention of energy.
- We are aware that governments all over Europe are facing a dilemma on the question of a new treaty. The slimmer it is, the fewer political problems in the short term.
- However, a slimmed-down treaty that does not deal with energy will leave us wide-open for a whole range of problems. Problems which really could threaten the EU's chances of meeting its strong ambitions on energy, Camilla Rosenhagen said.
Danish energy companies see no alternative: Energy must have its own chapter in a new EU treaty for the hugely ambitious targets for CO2, renewable energy and energy conservation to have a chance of being converted into solid and specific political initiatives.