The future of electricity and gas in Europe. Left perspectives on European energy markets

The report of this conference is available here.

In April 2014 the polish Prime Minister Tusk proposed the creation of an Energy Union in the European Union. Since that date Tusk massively advocated for a quick development of this Energy Union. Generally he has gained a lot of support from the heads of state or government of the other Member States, but has also been confronted with many reservations concerning concrete questions.

The new President of the European Commission (EC) Juncker has now proclaimed the Energy Union as the second priority in his five priorities list. And also the European Council mentions the Energy Union in its strategic agenda. A new instrument should breathe new geopolitical life into the EU energy foreign policy in times of the Ukraine crisis.

Juncker: "I therefore want to reform and reorganise Europe’s energy policy in to a new European Energy Union. We need to pool our resources, combine our infrastructures and unite our negotiating power vis-à-vis third countries. We need to diversify our energy sources, and reduce the high energy dependency of several of our Member States." (Claude Juncker: A New Start for Europe: My Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change. Political guidelines for the next European Commission, 15 July 2014)

According to the EC press statement of 4 February 2015, the Energy Union aims at the completion of single energy market and the guarantee of energy security in the EU.

"The Commission today launched work on the Energy Union; a fundamental step towards the completion of single energy market and reforming how Europe produces, transports and consumes energy. The Energy Union with a Forward-looking Climate Change Policy is one of the key political priorities of the Juncker Commission. After more than 60 years from the founding of the Coal and Steel Community, the Commission today drew a plan for reorganising European energy policies and kicked off work for European Energy Union." (www.europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4103_en.htm)

We discussed the following questions during this workshop:

• What is the impact of the planned Energy Union on the existing internal energy market and its future development?
• What is the relevance of the internal energy market for an ecological, social and democratic transformation of the energy sector?
• What consequences can we expect from the energy union on the ecological, social and democratic scope?
• What strategic approaches/problems will arise from the current regulation of the EU internal energy market and the planned energy union for an alternative ecological and democratic energy transition?

Program and presentations:

Workshop program
Presentation Dirk Vansintjan
Presentation Dörte Fouquet
Presentation James Watson
Presentation Jonathan Gaventa
Presentation Molly Walsh
Presentation Pablo Cotarelo and Alfons Perez

Background material:

A bright future for fossil energy in the EU? Policy Paper, Fabian Hübner (November 2015)
The Energy Union: what's behind it? Policy Paper, Malte Fiedler (November 2015)
The making of the EU Internal Energy Market, Policy Paper, Malte Fiedler (November 2015)
Natural Gas Lock-In. Current Politics in the European Union (September 2014)

Venue: Mundo-B, Rue d'Edimbourg 26, 1050 Brussels
Organisation: Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Brussels Office
Contact: Marlis Gensler, Project Manager, Tel. +32 2738 7663, marlis.gensler@rosalux.org