European Commission seeks common energy policy on behalf of EU

The European Commission has launched a drive to prevent individual member states of the European Union from negotiating their own individual energy agreements.

"It is perfectly clear the success of any energy policy is dependent on a successful common external energy policy on behalf of the EU and its member states," said Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger.

Oettinger’s proposes the EU’s 27 member states share information on energy agreements they make with non-EU countries.

He said better information sharing on existing and planned bilateral energy contracts is needed to improve energy security and ensure new agreements follow European law.

A notification requirement already exists for gas agreements, but the new information-sharing mechanism would extend the requirement to other energy sources, including renewables.

"This means the commission will be aware before negotiations start and how negotiations are going," said Oettinger. “If we speak with one voice, I think we've got a completely different weight.”

Oettinger’s plan essentially envisions the EC acquiring the right only to monitor negotiations and scrutinize draft agreements.

But member state diplomats still expressed doubts over the plan, saying that it posed “problems” for member states.

Despite such criticism, Oettinger said he was "optimistic" of obtaining the necessary support of EU energy ministers, who are scheduled to consider his proposal in late November.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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