The mechanics and provisions of such a
The European Union Energy Policy: An Initiative in Progress Anna Rulska April 2006 I. Introduction In January 2006, Russia cut off supply of gas to Ukraine. The European Union (EU), dependent on gas from Russia, delivered through Ukraine, realized the full extent of its vulnerability in the realm of energy security and a need, more pressing now than ever, for a common energy policy.Shortages of energy carry implications not only for domestic producers and consumers, but also for external security of the EU, for energy becomes a strong bargaining chip for Russia who can easily exert pressure on the EU members—especially those who do not possess their own supplies and whose energy sources are not diversified. What is the current energy policy of the EU? Can the EU member-states agree on an effective common energy policy? What is an effective energy policy for the EU? Why has the subject of a common energy policy climbed the EU agenda now?Can disparity in national interests and levels of dependency be breached to create a common energy policy? What are the challenges the EU is facing in creating an effective common energy policy? What dangers lay ahead the EU if the members do not agree on common policy? These are but a few questions associated with issues of European energy. The need for a common EU energy policy is a fact—and the mechanics and provisions of such a policy should be left to specialists on energy security.
Instead, this essay asserts that the EU energy policy is really a matter of two intertwined policies: energy policy and security policy.In terms of energy policy, the issues of security of supply and managing demand are vital. In terms of foreign policy, assuring diversity in supply in order to reduce the dependence of Europe on one source of energy—and creating political security through a proper management of energy sources through foreign policy cannot be overlooked. Since the scope of the issues involved in the field of energy security presents a broad and complicated puzzle, this paper will focus on the EU’s relationship with Russia and use this particular relationship as an example.This essay sets out to discuss the issues of European energy at play. First, general principles governing energy security will be discussed, leading the way to European dependence on energy. The second part of the essay will present the current energy situation in Europe, followed by issues associated with divergent energy needs of member-states.
Next, energy policy at present and its proposed changes will be explained, followed by a stipulation on possible obstacles to implementation of such a policy. 1 II. Energy in the European Union Energy dependency’ and ‘diversification of energy sources’ seem to be the buzzwords in Europe these days when discussing energy issues. While energy dependency “shows the extent to which a country relies upon imports in order to meet its energy needs,”2 diversification of energy sources indicates diversification of imports with respect to imported energy sources. These, in turn, are assured through long-term political stability in regions of origin and the resource base in regions of origin, including the home region/country itself.
3 Energy security can be enhanced through: drawing on foreign energy resources and products—increasingly aide by energy treaties and charters and by investment and trade agreements; adequate national/regional strategic reserves to address any interruptions, shortages, or unpredictably high demand; technological and financial resources and know-how to develop indigenous renewable energy resources and domestic power generating facilities; attention to environmental challenges; diversification in import sources and types of fuels; energy conservation and efficiency measures. 4Energy-producing companies, research institutions, and governmental advisors all predict that while world energy consumption will increase in the next two decades, the energy production will decrease. 5 Europe, dependent on energy imports from other regions, is not impervious to the global trends and does not differ from the rest of the world in terms of energy issues. A successful energy policy for Europe should, therefore, aim to find the right balance between security of supply, consideration for environmental impacts on local and global levels, and competitiveness. 6 The EU imports 50% of its energy.This number is predicted to rise to 70% by 2030 if no measures are taken to change the current European energy policy.
In terms of oil, 45% of imports are coming from the Middle East and 40% of natural gas is acquired from Russia. 7 The challenges of dependence on foreign oil and gas are common to all European countries, albeit to a different extent. Because of this shared need, the EU requires a more cohesive common policy and is well positioned to act as a unit. As a unit, the EU possesses an enormous buying power that comes from being the world’s second largest consumer of energy and one of the most energy-efficient continents.However, Europe’s approach to energy in the past has been “disjointed, failing to connect different policies and different countries. ”8 Member-states divergent levels of dependency on energy, as well as protectionist policies of governments, just to name a few issues, are responsible for this lack of cohesion in the realm of energy policy. Europe possesses limited resources of oil.
Up to now, it has produced around 50 billion barrels of oil. Before extraction, Norway and Great Britain possessed 75% of the continent’s total original reserves, mostly located in the North Sea.Besides Norway and the UK, only Denmark has a significant volume of reserves, while Rumania, the only other important producer in Europe, peaked in 1976 and is now in serious decline. Europe now needs to import around 60% of its oil needs, mainly from Russia and the Middle East, and it will need to increase imports by around 2% yearly to maintain demand at current levels. Norway and, to a lesser extent, Great Britain are exporters—but they are massively outweighed by the import requirements of Germany, France, Italy and Spain. 9 The EU currently imports 40% of its gas consumption; European gas reserves, located mainly in Great Britain, the Netherlands and Norway, are also diminishing. The percentage of imports, therefore, could rise to 70% by 2020.
Russian gas imports account for 25% of EU gas supplies and almost all of them come from one single company, Gazprom, on which the Russian government has a strong influence. 10 The Commission’s Green Paper on security of energy supply published in November 2000 drew a sobering picture of the EU’s energy situation.Namely, it predicted the rise of energy dependency in Europe from 50% in 2000 to aforementioned 70% in 2030. The imports of oil will increase from 45% to 90%. By 2030, over 60% of EU gas imports are expected to come from Russia—from 40% coming from Russia today, 30% from Algeria, and 25% from Norway—with overall dependency expected to reach 80%—a 100% increase from 2000.
11 Aside from infamous Russia, the Middle East plays a key role in issues of European oil and gas dependency: 63% of the world’s oil reserves and 35% of the reserves of gas are concentrated there.Europe imports around 3 million barrels per day from the Persian Gulf, which translates to 45% of its oil imports. The EU is the primary purchaser of oil and the primary supplier to Saudi Arabia (38% of its imports) and Iran, and the main trading partner with the countries in the Persian Gulf. It is both Kuwait’s and the United Arab Emirates’ leading supplier—30-40% of imported goods. 12 The picture emerging from the above numbers is one of European dependency on oil from the Middle East and on gas from Russia.
Any debate on the European energy policy must, therefore, take this geopolitical dependency situation into consideration.III. The EU Energy Initiative: A Work in Progress Given the nature of European dependency on foreign energy supply and following in the words of the EU Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs: “It is clear that Europe needs a clearer and more collective and cohesive policy on security of energy supply. To date, the issue of security of energy supply is only really considered at national member state level, but in reality we need a much greater European-wide approach on this issue. ”13 Traditionally, EU energy policy has been a subject to stricter boundaries than are imposed on national energy policies.For almost 30 years, EU energy policy has been confined to the fields of nuclear energy and coal, as prescribed by the treaties on the European Coal and Steel Community and on the European Atomic Community.
Attempts to extend the EU’s jurisdiction to energy supplies remained unsuccessful. Repeatedly, member states could not accept an energy chapter in the Treaty on the European Union in Maastricht and Amsterdam. Despite strong support from the European Commission and the European Parliament, the majority of member states fear losing their autonomy over energy policy.The main reasons have been differences in interests between producer and non-producer countries, as well as the different structures of national energy sectors. As a result, EU energy policy largely relies on intergovernmental co-operation, in which each member state exercises veto power. 14 With the recent expansion of the EU to the East, the policy towards Russia has become far more prominent on the EU agenda.
Similarly, eventual Turkish membership will create an EU border with Syria and prompt a stronger EU involvement in the Middle East.Inevitably, foreign policy relations with large suppliers will have a major energy component. From a European perspective, the partnership idea usually comprises of two strategic dimensions related to energy. One is to secure energy imports for the EU through economic and political interdependence; and the other is to use the energy sector as the motor for reform in the countries concerned.
Export revenues are expected to increase investment and bring in foreign expertise, thereby further deepening economic interdependence. The typically applied tool by the EU to exert its influence is to enhance economic interdependence. 15 EU leaders met in Brussels at the end of March, 2006.
This summit had energy issues on the top of its agenda, along with its traditional economic and social agenda. Their goal was to develop a new Energy Policy for Europe (EPE). Discussions were based on Commission suggestions presented in a Green Paper published in the beginning of March. EU energy ministers supported the main points of the Green Paper; however, they insisted on preserving national sovereignty on key aspects of energy policy including the choice of energy mix and rejected the idea of a single European energy regulator.Therefore, the summit was limited to more general principles and already agreed goals of securing energy supply and competitiveness. Although EU leaders fully realize the need for and the advantage of a common energy policy, they have a hard time overcoming their national loyalties.
France’s President Chirac, whose country is in “a row with Italy over the blocking of Enel’s takeover bid of the French energy utility Suez,” asserts that the construction of a European energy policy cannot be confined to the liberalization of markets.Rather, it should aim to develop ‘European champions’ “based on solid industrial ambition and not on a purely financial approach. ”16 EU leaders backed proposals to strengthen energy cooperation and confirmed a strategy aimed primarily at increasing the EU’s security of energy supply through: increased cooperation on external policy with main supplier countries such as OPEC and Russia, as well as with major transit and consumer countries; diversification of energy sources—both external and indigenous—and transport routes; and a common approach to address crisis situations in a spirit of solidarity.
The summit insisted on a balanced approach with the two other policy objectives of ensuring the competitiveness of European economies and securing longer term environmental sustainability. 17 The 2006 Green Paper: Green Paper: Doing more with less tries to integrate national energy policies under an umbrella of the EU. It identifies five main goals: to speak with one voice on strategic energy issues; to diversify the mix of primary energy resources; to become the world’s most energy-efficient region; to become the world leader in low carbon energy research and development; and to complete the internal energy market by 2007.Furthermore, the Green Paper proposes six priority areas that should lead to the development of a “reinvigorated European Energy Policy:” a common European external policy for security of energy supply; a common European internal policy for security of energy supply; increase the use of clean and indigenous energy sources; a strategic plan for European clean energy technologies; Europe-wide action on energy efficiency; completing the internal European electricity and gas markets by 2007. 18 In contrast, the November 2000 Green Paper underlined the need to diversify energy sources in view of an increasing dependency on Russia for gas and the Middle East for oil and led to new legislative initiatives on the use of renewable energy sources and on energy efficiency. The Commission also attempted to improve the internal energy market by liberalizing the electricity and gas sector.
19 Increasing oil and gas security top the EU Commission energy agenda. The main actions specifically proposed by the European Commission include: an harmonization of national storage systems, with the institution of public and private agency, a wider coordinated use of security stocks, and an increase in the physical amount of oil stocks. Long term measures for enhancing oil supply security can be seen on both, the demand and supply sides.
Main demand side policies extend to: energy saving and efficiency, investments in R&D; and reduction of oil price inelasticity especially for the transport sector. On the other hand, the supply side reforms include: cooperation and institutional promotion for supply diversification of suppliers and routes. Main factors that could affect described policies could be the liberalization of international trade even in the energy sector and the increasing role of oil demand from developing countries. 20 The EU faces the prospects of a substantial increase in gas imports in the next three decades in the absence of rigorous policies at EU and national levels. The enlargement of the EU to twenty-five countries temporarily increased the degree of gas-import dependence, as eight new accession countries are net gas importers. But the enlargement to thirty countries would reduce the degree of gas-import dependence because of the inclusion of Norway. 21 As far as the support of citizens for energy policy goes, majority of EU citizens—47%—would prefer European level decisions on the new energy challenges such as energy supply security, growing energy consumption and climate change, as opposed to 37% who prefer to leave the decision-making power to national governments, and 8% who want to have it decided on a local level.
Commissioner Piebalgs summarized the results of the Eurobarometer poll in the following words: “The message from the citizens is a clear one – energy is a concern for all Europeans and people expect clear and concrete actions on all political levels.Europe needs a real energy policy focused on security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability. ”22 The survey, conducted in 2005 in the 25 EU Member States, reveals that citizens consider renewable energy, and research and technology as the main means at national level to reduce the current energy dependency. Almost half of all EU citizens (48%) believe that their national government should focus on developing the use of solar power, followed by promoting advanced research for new energy technologies (41%) and developing the use of wind power (31%).
Regulation for the reduction of dependence on oil (23%) and developing the use of nuclear power (12%) are less appreciated among the respondents. 23 IV. The EU Energy Outlook: Issues at Play The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said recently that no country could pursue an independent energy policy alone. “Throughout the world, peaceful economic development and energy security are inextricably linked.
Energy security involves the security of all stakeholders—producers, transit states and consumers.This global dimension also means that national efforts alone are inadequate and that we must find an alternative to confrontational approaches. ”24 Although the above discussion on the European energy policy makes it clear that even though there is a need for a cohesive, EU-wide energy policy to ensure security of supply and reduce demand, hereby reducing the dependence of Europe on foreign energy supply, the actual creation of such a policy presents a difficult task.
Forces at play, such as member-states sovereignty, protectionism of national industries, issues associated with nuclear energy, different approach to Russia, all pose obstacles to establishing an effective energy policy. This section discusses these issues in an attempt to provide a broad framework in which EU leaders operate to form an energy policy acceptable to all member-states. Need for a combined foreign and energy policy Luc Werring, principal advisor to the EU Commission for Energy and Transport asserts that: “We need to integrate our energy policy with our foreign policy. 25 A senior German military officer, Roland Kastner, said that makeshift solutions did not usually ensure energy security. “Energy policy and security policy are closely linked to each other. ”26 Kevin Rosner, an energy consultant for G-8 and director of NATO’s energy security forum, claims that Russia has signed off on using energy as a political tool.
Energy security moved beyond the sphere of national security to become an international concern that required an international response. 27With development of European Neighborhood Policy, as well as preparing accession of Turkey into the EU, energy issues should play a role as well. Most EU countries support the position that producer countries and transit countries, particularly Ukraine and Turkey, should be included in a wider European energy community. Swieboda, the Polish Foreign Ministry official, said that “Poland supports an energy policy in which the EU would include south-east Europe on the one hand as well as Ukraine and Turkey on the other. ”28 Protectionism vs.
iberalization Several member-states, reportedly led by France and Poland, resist liberalization of energy market in favor of protectionism. 29 Recently, Brussels sent warnings to Austria, Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Slovakia for not adhering to liberalization directives on gas and electricity. If these states fail to implement the directives in form and substance, they face lawsuits in the European Court of Justice.
The EU Commissioner for Energy praised Denmark and Netherlands as the only two members to have a “clean bill of health” when it comes to liberalization of energy markets. 30 The battle between the EU institutions and member-states regarding energy market liberalization is not new. In theory, companies have been free to choose their energy suppliers since July, 2004; 31 however, the practice does not hold up to theory. Now, that the EU leaders agreed to push for a joint strategy, the EU has no choice but to enforce the law if a common energy policy is to work effectively.
Power of institutions vs. tate sovereignty A number of countries are reluctant to open their markets to more competition, while others are struggling with giving the European Commission more powers over the energy sector. Many EU members regard energy as a crucial national security issue that should not be put under the control of the Commission.
States are mainly concerned with situations where they would come to the aid of one another in the event of a supply shortage, and whether to connect key transition grids that run to Europe. Another issue is access to national storage facilities, which are considered security assets.Several countries, particularly Germany and the Netherlands are reluctant to open up their storage facilities to other member states, unless in exceptional circumstances. 32 The commission is also facing resistance in establishing a regulatory authority for energy. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, at the March summit bypassed the issue of granting powers to the Commission and instead focused on the need to diversify energy sources by opening up the energy grids and fostering much closer relations with countries from North Africa and the Middle East. 33East-West Diversity Given the centrality of energy for the functioning of the economy as a whole, this is an area where aspects of the relationship with Russia, compounded by other problems, contribute to differences between the older EU members and he new CEE acquisitions.
34 CEE states, even though similarly dependent as the other EU members, face different challenges stemming from their proximity to and relationship with Russia. Important differences can be seen in four areas: structure of energy use, energy dependence, infrastructure, and politization of the issue.The first important difference between the energy situation of these countries and that of the Western European ones has to do with the fact that the CEE countries have a much higher level of energy dependence on a single source—namely Russia—than other European countries. This is especially clear in the case of gas, where the candidate countries’ dependency in terms of gas is much higher than that of EU member states. The CEE states combined imports of gas hover around 72%, whereas the rest of the EU members’ combined average is close to 42%.
The situation is similar in the case of oil, albeit the difference in imports is less drastic: the CEE imports 87. 7% of its oil energy and the rest of the EU 76. 8%. Furthermore, although overall dependency rates may not differ significantly, dependency on a single supplier is much more marked in the case of the CEE countries. While in the Western European countries the level of dependency on a single source hardly exceeds 30%, the CEE countries’ level of energy dependency on Russian oil and gas oscillates between 50—100%. 35 The difference between Eastern and Western Europe is further marked with disparity in efficiency of infrastructure and the role energy plays in politics.
The legacies of difficult relations with the Soviet Union make it very difficult for trade with Russia to be conducted as if it was trade with “any other” country. “For the CEE countries, energy is the most sensitive part of trade with Russia, and trade with Russia is not just trade: it is marked by the shadow of it being trade with the former hegemon. 36 Mistrust and apprehension mar the perception of their relationship with their main suppliers—an element that is not present in the relationship of other European states and their suppliers, be it Norway or Algeria. Energy as a Political Tool: Example of Russia As asserted earlier, the lines between energy policy and foreign policy have been blurred.
The developments of January 2006 proved that Russia uses its energy to assert regional control. With increasingly more centralized power, Russia influences not only CEE states but also the rest of the EU as well. 37 “Russia’s energy companies have become clear instruments of foreign policy. Dmitry Medvedev, Gazprom chairman, is the country’s first deputy prime minister. Also, Igor Sechin, chief of the Kremlin administration, is CEO of Rosneft, Russia’s fastest growing energy company.
”38 The problem with a joint energy policy, one that takes into account European dependence on Russia, again rests on the disparity in perceptions toward Russia between CEE states and Western Europe.Poland, supported by the Baltic States, said it wanted the European Union to move quickly in reducing its energy dependence on Russia and adopt a much tougher and collective stance in dealing with Russia. But Germany and France said they were unwilling to isolate Russia, preferring instead to engage it in a long term energy relationship beneficial to both sides. 39 European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, met Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow in March of this year. Reportedly, Putin assured Barroso that Russia wants to be a “credible and stable” partner for the EU.
40 Europe is dependent on gas from Russia, but conversely, the EU is also the largest client of Russia. If Russia loses credibility as a reliable supplier of gas, it stands to lose revenues in the future. However, two main issues seem to hamper a healthy relationship between the EU and Russia when it comes to supplies of energy: European Energy Charter which Russia refuses to ratify and liberalizing energy networks within Russia with access granted to the EU. 41 Russia has made energy security issues the leading theme of ts G8 Presidency this year.
42 However, so far Russia showed little inclination to give in to pressure to sign an Energy Charter which would prevent it from curtailing energy supplies and would encourage opening of energy transport infrastructure to outside competition. This position of Russia is natural—for who does want to relinquish control voluntarily? “As the world’s second-largest exporter of oil… and owner of the world’s largest natural gas reserves, Russia holds a lot of the cards in the debate on energy security.But it was also Moscow, … that placed energy security at the top of the G8 agenda and… will likely have to show some flexibility on Western demands for higher ‘visibility’ in its energy sector if its G8 presidency is not to be seen as a flop. ”43 The European-Russian dialogue on energy started in 2000 in Paris with the sixth EU-Russia Summit.
The partners agreed then to institute an energy dialogue to enable progress in the definition and arrangements for an EU-Russia Energy Partnership. 44 German Chancellor at the time, Gerhard Schroder, put it very well in October of 2000 when Romano Prodi was meeting with Vladimir Putin: “We need energy, Russia needs money, we have money, Russia has energy: it’s clear that our interests are coming closer together. “ 45 Jose Manuel Barroso maintains that the EU is in a strong position to ensure that Russia guarantees its energy supplies: “I believe the leverage we have is strong because we are the main client of Russia, so we are interdependent in a way.Russia… has an interest in selling gas and oil. We also have an interest in having that security of supply from Russia. ”46 V. Conclusion The European Union faces a difficult, but necessary, process of constructing and implementing a joint energy policy.
The current global environment in which energy security and international relations are more intertwined than ever makes this task even harder.The most recent expansion of the EU to the East, as well as its future expansion to Turkey, add diversity to the EU, challenging states to find solutions fitted for all member-states. Issues such as liberalization of energy sectors, diversification of energy supply where some states favor more openness than others; enhancing European energy networks; connecting the main energy transmission grid networks that feed gas into Europe from Norway, Russia and North Africa; development of nuclear power, just to name a few, will have to be taken into consideration o construct a successful energy policy. While the issue of energy is not a new topic, year 2006 seems to be the time when energy climbs the agenda of the European Union, for it ties economic prosperity of the Union with its internal and external security, as well as foreign relations. Energy policy also presents a test of sorts for the EU, putting on trial yet again well-being of the collective versus national interest and sovereignty of individual member-states.The ability of the EU to develop, implement and execute a joint energy policy will constitute yet another step toward a finality of the EU as a regional arrangement that transcends national borders, maturing into being more than an international organization; rather, a joint energy policy will show the EU as deepening institutionally into a true ‘union’ of member-states.
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