The European Union is cooperating closely with the United States in efforts to fight climate change and is committed to put in place all the relevant policies to curb CO2 emissions as well as boost energy security, European Commission DG Energy Director General Dominique Ristori told New Europe in an interview in Athens.
Asked if the decision of US President Donald Trump to pull out of the Paris climate accord would undermine cooperation with the US in fighting climate change, Ristori said: “No, the cooperation with the US is important and will remain important, of course, at the level of the US Administration even if we have a different vision regarding Paris Agreement.
But we have also a mountain of contacts will all American actors – companies, operators TCOs (transmission system operators), DSOs (distribution system operators), regulators, etcetera, cities, cities from different states and you know we have with the US the same vision of values and vision of market, open market, competitive market and so on and this will remain.”
Ristori reminded that California Governor Jerry Brown was in Brussels recently to step up cooperation on emissions trading and zero-carbon transportation between the Golden State and the European Union.
Ristori spoke to New Europe on the sidelines of an energy cooperation session of the EU-Arab summit on November 9.
Asked if he was optimistic about this year’s UN Climate Conference COP23 taking place from November 6-17 in Bonn, the European Commission DG Energy Director General said he is confident that all countries participating in the Paris Climate are “committed in order to put in place all the relevant policies”.
“I’m more confident because not only governments but also the economic players are putting a lot of efforts in that direction and for the first time in history last year a major part of global energy investment were invested in clean energy – be it renewables, in energy efficiency and smart grids,” he said.
EU Gas Directive
Ristori also noted that the European Commission wants the same rules to be implemented for all key pipelines that are entering EU territory, including Gazprom’s Nord Stream-2 pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Asked if the Commission’s proposals on November 8 to amend the EU Gas Directive of the Third Energy Package are directed against Nord Stream-2, Ristori said. “No. The point is to implement clear rules, fair rules anytime we’re confronted with important gas infrastructure and we need to put in place that in order to ensure fair competition and we don’t have in mind any specific issue, you see. This has to be developed and implemented for all projects”.
Ristori added that “the mandate for Nord Stream-2 exists and it will remain. It will remain because there is still the need to open real dialogue with those having in mind to develop important projects entering in our territory”.
Asked if changed to the Gas Directive would affect pipelines in southern Europe, like the second branch of Russia’s Turkish Stream, the European Commission DG Energy Director General said, “Yes, but you see the same rules should be implemented in the different regions anytime some key infrastructure are entering our territory. This is the point and we’re confident we will receive a positive also elsewhere from the different Member States in the Council as well as European Parliament”.