Short-sightedness and lack of solidarity have hollowed out the energy package. While there are certain positive developments in the Security of Gas Supply Regulation, the EU is simply not up to the game in the new reality of energy geopolitics.
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski is a non-attached Polish MEP and a member of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee.
When European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker took office, he promised to be “big on big things” – a statement that held a promise on bold reforms in certain crucial areas. There seemed to be a common consensus on the need for a European policy which would ensure secure, affordable and sustainable supply of energy to EU companies and households. Indeed, the initial actions of the Commission were promising. A series of energy stress tests conducted in 2014 simulated gas delivery disruptions to identify weak links and shortfalls in national emergency mechanisms. The results were simple: the segmentation of emergency plans along national borders resulted in a complete lack of coordination and communication. Any crisis would thus spread like a contagion.
What followed was a series of Commission proposals, the so-called Winter Package, which, if adopted would strongly enhance the competitiveness, transparency and security of the Single Energy Market of the EU. However, the European Union proved to be short-sighted by shutting its neighbours out of the system. And in the light of Commission’s proposals, the member states are to blame.
Levelling the playing field
It did not have to be that way. Commission proposals were warmly received by the Parliament; all major political groups saw some room for improvement, especially as regards to the solidarity and transparency mechanisms, but the amendments adopted maintained the general framework of European solutions for EU-wide challenges.
The underlying principles of the Security of Gas Supply Regulation were…