The European Commission assesses the Energy Union’s progress, publishing the second State of the Energy Union Report, something more than a year after the November 2015 report got published.
According to the Berlaymont’s assessment, the EU is “well on track to reach its 2020 targets” in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
Among other issues, Vice-President and European Commissioner for Energy Maros Sefcovic was asked about the EU’s dependence on Gazprom imports. Sefcovic did not appear concerned over the fact that Europe is importing more gas than ever from Russia, as EU’s reduced energy consumption should make the bloc “less worried about Gazprom than in the past”.
Sefcovic, however, reminded that the Commission’s Statement of Objections to Gazprom for alleged abuse of dominance on Central and Eastern European gas supply markets is still pending. Brussels issued a Statement of Objections to Gazprom on April 2015 for imposing territorial restrictions, pursuing an unfair pricing policy and making gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland conditional on obtaining unrelated commitments from wholesalers concerning gas transport infrastructure.
On Tuesday’s Russia – Ukraine relationship deterioration, Sefcovic said that the European Commission is in regular contact with both sides: “We’re monitoring gas flows and, despite the harsh winter, everything works fine,” said Sefcovic, reassuring reporters that he is in close contact with both Russian and Ukrainian energy ministries.
Sefcovic: “EU’s gas storage is stress-tested.”
“We have learned the lessons of the past, we are better interconnected than before,” suggested the Vice President, reassuring that the bloc’s “interconnectors, and gas storage are stress-tested. We have a more liquid gas market. We may even be in a stronger position.”
According to EU’s energy chief, the situation on energy security has very much improved to 22 out of the 28 EU member states.
“My message to importers is, you should be open to stiff competition. We want to ensure there are no strings attached,” added Sefcovic.
Furthermore, with Australia and the US leading the market in liquefied natural gas (LNG), Sefcovic concluded that the EU looks forward to such a competition that would ensure EU consumers fair prices, and make the EU less worried than in the past.