Last week Strasbourg was, as ever, an extraordinarily busy week!
In my new role as a member on the Industry, Research and Energy Committee in the European Parliament, I was particularly involved in a debate centring on European Energy Security that took place during Thursday’s session.
The debate focused on a European Parliament Resolution on external aspects of energy security. I managed to secure some speaking time in the debate and was keen to emphasise the point that Europe’s future depends on securing energy.
In a Commission statement by Commissioner Andris Piebalg, European Commissioner for Energy, it was clear that energy was going to be high on the agenda for the entirety of the next parliamentary term. The three areas of major concern with regard European energy policy centre on security of supply, sustainability and compatibleness. Of crucial importance is of course, the external dimension of European Energy Policy; creating partnerships with energy suppliers and with consumers and importing countries, and improving the conditions for investments in international projects.
The Nabucco agreement and the Desertec initiative were the key focuses of our debate, both showed that Turkey is an essential gateway to European energy sources. In my speech to the Parliament, I wanted to get across a strong message that we should be building greater trust and deeper ties with countries that will be our energy partners, such as those in North Africa and the Middle East and link these relationships in with a strong developmental focus.
One of the main problems that I acknowledge is that some Member States have not used the recent past to prepare a coherent energy strategy. In my constituency (North West of England) there are some key areas for wind power generation but the planning laws serve to obstruct the possibility of maximising on this.
Whilst it is obvious that the EU must look outwardly for future energy supplies, Member States must also make the best use of the resources and potential they already have.