The sixth European Union-United States Energy Council met in Brussels, chaired by EU High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The Energy Council, a forum on EU-U.S. energy priorities, promotes transparent and secure global energy markets, fosters policy and regulatory cooperation on efficient and sustainable energy use, and pursues joint research and development on clean energy technologies. These actions boost economic growth and jobs, enhance energy security and international cooperation, and highlight the importance and urgency of tackling global energy and climate challenges. .
Energy is and indispensable part of our lives. It is also a shrinking resource, which has become a cause of conflicts and in countries rich of energy used as political ends. Another significant challenge is related to the fact that main energy producer and energy flows are located in the unstable regions of the world, adding yet another factor of uncertainty to the energy supply. Above that, cooperation with crucial producer of energy, like Russia, is difficult given its problematic relationship with the EU and the West. Especially as Russia has made it clear that it does not restrain from using its energy dominance as a mean for political black mail.
The use of energy as a political weapon can be illustrated by Russia energy dispute with Ukraine. The European Commission defines energy security as the “uninterrupted physical availability of energy products on the market, at a price which is affordable for all consumers (private and industrial).” In the context of EU´s foreign policy, variances of energy dependence rate have had an impact on the individual membership countries relationship with Russia and Middle East.
The EU does a lot in order to cope with the issue of today´s energy supply by adjusting and changing laws and regulation. The EU also negotiates and bargaining with its membership states, third-countries, and organization such as NATO. EU´s member states are in agreement the Challenges and commitments that call for increased EU-U.S. cooperation. We also have shared interests with regard to stability in other regions.
The geopolitical situation is currently very critical in some parts of the world. I’ve already mentioned Ukraine. In addition to that, both EU and U.S. are very concerned about the situation in Syria and Iraq. Another crisis is the terrible disease Ebola, which has affected many parts of West Africa, is taking on an increasingly global dimension and can only be contained through international efforts.
Those are some of the key challenges we face. The member states of the European Union are striving to engage in dialogue and find peaceful solutions. The approach pursued by the European Union and its partners to overcome the Ukraine crisis serves this aim. A Joint Statement EU-US Energy Council meeting, in Brussels 3th december, reaffirmed that energy should not be used as a political tool. The Council welcomed the trilateral gas accord of 30 October 2014 mediated over the course of the last eight months by the European Union, and acknowledged the support of the United States and other parties in this achievement.
The accord is an important contribution to ensuring Ukraine’s security of gas supply this winter, provides relief to the citizens of Ukraine, and ensures the reliable transit of gas to Europe. Beyond its immediate impact on the supply of gas, it demonstrates that it is possible to de-escalate the conflict, and provides a template on which further action could be built.
The Council also welcomed the negotiations towards a comprehensive and ambitious Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the discussion of trade and investment issues relevant to energy. The Council welcomed the prospect of U.S. liquefied natural gas exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Europe and other strategic partners. In this context Research and Innovation have a critical role to play in increasing energy security and in mitigating the threat of climate change by expanding the share of low-carbon options in the energy mix, and by reducing costs.
Enhanced cooperation between the EU and United States in energy-related research should support the development of coordinated and harmonised technologies, solutions, programmes and projects. This will provide the base for developing expertise, science and technology capacity and excellence that will directly benefit competitiveness and contribute to green growth as a source of new jobs and prosperity. Coordinated action by the EU, the United States and all major and emerging economies will be essential to tackling the threat of global climate change, which remains the defining challenge of our generation.