Right-Wing European Council set to “fuel debate and debate only fuel” - Formal energy and informal economic agenda criticised for lack of forward thinking

Date

03 Feb 2011

Sections

Energy

The first European Council on Energy is set to pass by without any forward thinking expectations being met. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the Party of European Socialists (PES), declared: “due to the Conservative majority, this Council looks like it will miss a precious opportunity to define a new EU energy strategy. Old leaders, with old ideas, are simply proposing old energy methods for Europe’s future. What is certain is that this Council will fuel debate and debate only fuel”.

Increasing energy efficiency and championing renewable energy are the preconditions for achieving stable, secure, clean and affordable energy supply in Europe. On both issues, the European Council will not make any progress, due to a lack of ambition. Instead of appealing to Member States and adapting some technical rules, the European Council should adopt a binding target to increase energy efficiency by 20% until 2020. Linda McAvan (MEP, UK Labour), chairperson of the PES Environment Network emphasized: “We must make the housing stock in Europe more energy efficient. Besides providing positive effects for the environment, this would give a boost to the crippled construction sector and would reduce energy bills.”

Mr. Rasmussen emphasized that; “Instead of modernizing our energy grids and our energy mix, Conservative leaders continue to push ancient fossil fuels. We as social democrats and socialists believe in the future of renewable energy. We demand to set a binding target to achieve 30% renewable energy until 2020 and at least 95% until 2050. Priority access for renewables must be enforced and competitive prices must be ensured.”

The PES is concerned about the support in the run-up of the European Council to promote the extraction of shale gas and oil shale. Experiences in the US and some EU Member States have shown that this can lead to water and soil pollution and decrease the quality of life of our citizens. Instead of making huge investments into new fossil energy production, renewable energy must be sufficiently financed.

Barroso and Van Rompuy told agenda is; “a blueprint to dismantle welfare states”

The PES President has also sent an open letter to the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso and the European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy. The letter outlines the devastating effect that recent Commission proposals would have on Member States’ welfare states, making explicit reference to the recent ‘Annual Growth Survey’ which provides the basis for this Council’s informal agenda. Mr. Rasmussen also outlines a series of clear alternative steps that would return Europe to a path based on fair growth.

 

For further information please contact Brian Synnott on +32 474 98 96 75 (brian.synnott@pes.org)

The PES brings together 33 socialist, social democratic, labour and progressive parties in the European Union and Norway, a parliamentary group in the European Parliament (184 MEPs) and in the Committee of the Regions (247 members) - plus observer and associate parties and organizations from all over Europe. ECOSY and PES Women are respectively the Youth and the Women's organizations of the PES.