Speak Up Energy

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In an unofficial paper, the Commission condemns an alternative proposal on energy liberalisation for not going far enough to ensure energy firms keep their supply and production activities separate from network operations (so-called ‘ownership unbundling’).The ‘non-paper’ obtained by EurActiv welcomes the proposal, led by France and Germany and supported by six other member states, “as… » read more

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Sadek Boussena, Algeria‘s former energy minister and former chairman and CEO of Sonatrach, the Algerian state-owned oil and gas company, closed the session by giving a producer country’s point of view.Boussena was highly critical of what he called the “obsession” in the Western world with security of supply, saying the concept could mean something quite… » read more

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Former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine had harsh words about the EU’s attempts at forging a common external energy policy, saying Europeans should stop lamenting their divisions. “Europeans are divided, it’s their nature, it’s a fact,” Védrine insisted, adding that a lot of time and effort could be gained from recognising this.Suggesting a possible way… » read more

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The EU’s special representative for Central Asia, Ambassador Pierre Morel, gave a damning assessment of Europe’s energy diplomacy, saying there is currently “no real European external policy on energy”. “We have made progress on the internal market and on the environment,” Morel said, deploring what he called a “paradox” in that the same has not… » read more

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Energy situation in China

Valérie Niquet, director of the Asia Centre at IFRI, gave an overview of the energy situation in China, saying the country was currently “in a learning phase” due to its rapid economic development. The Chinese strategy, Niquet said, is to: Develop its own oil and gas resources, including offshore – a strategy which is causing… » read more

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Russia’s position

A session on the EU’s energy supply and geopolitics focused heavily on Russia, with Central Asia, China, the Middle East and Africa adding to a picture dominated by anxieties over fossil fuel supplies.Thomas Gomart, director of the Russia/NIS Centre at IFRI, pointed to the “securitisation” of Russia’s energy rhetoric, making three main observations: 1.Energy has… » read more

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External energy policy

Russia and Gazprom were on everyone’s lips at the annual conference of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) in Brussels last week, which focused on the EU’s external energy policy.The 2008 annual conference was the first in a series of events organised by IFRI’s energy programme, in partnership with Reuters and EurActiv, on 31… » read more

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Several EU business organisations (UNICE, Eurochambres) as well as the European Chemicals industry (CEFIC) criticised the Commission’s unilateral CO2 reduction targets for 2020. “Further strong CO2 reduction targets that have not been adopted by other major emitting nations will weaken the European industry’s competitiveness within the global business environment without achieving effective environmental benefits,” said… » read more

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Action plan

Since the 2007 EU Summit, the Commission has put forward two major legislative packages in respect of the action plan: 1. 19 Sept. 2007: The third ‘package’ of proposals to liberalise the EU’s energy market; 2. 23 Jan. 2008: The ‘climate and energy package’, which features legislative proposals on CO2 ‘burden sharing’ and on the… » read more

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Energy and climate change

EU heads of state and governments broadly endorsed the Commission’s proposals at a landmark summit in March 2007, agreeing on a two-year action plan to launch a common European energy policy.Central to the summit agreement is a recognition that energy and climate-change policies should go hand in hand. It stressed the need for “decisive and… » read more

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