Buzek: `Energy union can help to boost economic growth and jobs`

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Courtesy of European Parliament

Energy issues have dominated the EU's political agenda for a long time. When Jean-Claude Juncker took over as president of the European Commission, one of his priorities was creating an energy union. Today this union will be debated with Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič. Ahead of the debate we spoke to former EP President Jerzy Buzek, a Polish member of the EPP group who is now the chair of the EP's energy committee. about the energy union and the role Parliament should play.

What exactly is the energy union? Why do we need it?

I see the energy union as a political umbrella which will bring together all relevant sectors and players and which will allow for an integrated approach to our energy challenges. It can also help to boost economic growth, competitiveness and jobs.

Stable, sustainable, affordable and competitive energy is a challenge which no EU member state is capable of meeting by itself. To tackle the challenge, we have been pursuing an integrated energy policy, but its implementation is still far from being completed.

The political situation involving our main energy suppliers – Russia, Ukraine and North Africa - is very unstable. How will the energy union improve our energy security and how will it affect relations with for example Russia? 

An internal energy market with an excellent level of interconnection and without isolated 'energy islands' will enable us to help each other, guaranteeing a constant energy supply to all regions.

The purpose of the energy union is to ensure our internal security, resilience and ability to decide on our energy flows. It is not directed against someone externally. Developments in relations with Russia might have been an impulse for us to shift up a gear in our energy considerations, but altering the EU’s relations with Russia or any other party is not one of the energy union’s goals.

What role should the Parliament play?

First of all, the Parliament exercises scrutiny over the EU's main political processes and this energy strategy is definitely one of them. Moreover, it is necessary to keep 500 million citizens – who are represented by MEPs – as well as all relevant stakeholders up to date with such a far-reaching concept. It is therefore a most promising sign that vice president Šefčovič will address the EP’s plenary just hours after the official rollout of the energy union

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