2nd March 2015
Ashley Fox MEP, Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament has welcomed last week’s announcement by the European Commission to create an ‘Energy Union'.
Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič announced that an Energy Union would prioritise the completion of the internal energy market in order for energy to move more freely across the EU, enabling more competition and diversity. The hope is that this will drive down prices for consumers and businesses and increase the security of our energy supplies.
With the EU currently importing 53% of its energy, the Energy Union is a concerted attempt to end over-reliance on Russian gas. The bulk of Russian gas imports to the EU pass through Ukraine, and the recent unrest in the region has raised concerns that Russia could once again turn off supplies to Europe, as it did in 2009.
Mr Fox said: "Energy is one area where a Europe-wide market makes sense. In Britain we have huge energy resources but difficulty delivering it to our European neighbours.
"The cost of completing the grid, according to the Commission, is in the region of €300 billion. If we want to get this important initiative moving forward we will need more than vague predictions. We need a concerted effort to raise the finance to get the projects and grid up and running.
“If we create a single market for energy, then our constituents will benefit from the lowest possible energy prices that a free market can deliver. Lower energy prices across Europe will help our businesses compete and will create jobs.
“I want the EU to be so well connected that it does not matter if Mr Putin turns off the gas, because we can import what we need through LNG terminals and supply the whole market.
“Once that is a reality, Russian gas will never be switched off because there will be no point.
"An Energy Union has the potential to lower prices, create jobs and will remove one of Mr Putin’s favoured diplomatic tools. We will no longer have to take his bluster seriously. A properly functioning market is the best way to give every Member State Energy security.”
To view Ashley’s speech in full please go to: http://youtu.be/7FvFzpxlPuA