Pourquoi les dirigeants de l’UE ont vaincu BusinessEurope sur l’énergie

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Malgré la présence de lobbyistes et des centaines de milliers d’euros dépensés en vue de mettre en échec les politiques européennes en matière d’énergie et de climat en amont du sommet de cette semaine, BusinessEurope, une fédération qui représente les plus grandes entreprises d'Europe, n’est pas parvenue à intégrer sa campagne dans les conclusions du sommet, écrit Claude Turmes.

Claude Turmes est un eurodéputé luxembourgeois des Verts/Alliance libre européenne, membre de la commission de l'industrie, de la recherche et de l'énergie.

"Business Europe tried to narrow down the discussion on Europe's competitiveness to a conversation solely about energy prices per unit. However, the Council finally adopted a much broader concept, including prices AND costs of energy. Focussing just on prices would make no sense as rocketing oil prices, determining European gas prices, and huge reinvestment needs in new power plants will anyway  make Europe a "high energy price region" for the near future, according to the IEA.

To allow for reduced energy costs, EU heads of state took up energy efficiency as a key measure; now governments will have to deliver on what they promised mainly through the implementation of the energy efficiency directive. Member States such as Luxembourg, Czech Republic and Slovenia which have not yet reported on their energy savings target for 2020 need to get hands on with efficiency.

EU leaders also reaffirmed the role of renewables, key for efficient and cheap power production: today new large PV (€80-100/MWh) and onshore wind (€60-80/MWh) installations produce electricity cheaper than new nuclear (above €115/MWh).

In the context of state aid rules the Council text mentions a "level playing field" for energy sources. This is interesting in the UK case where the government wants to introduce state aid to finance nuclear power plants at Hinkley Point. But since nuclear is now more expensive than renewables but does not, contrary to renewables, pay fully for its external costs (liability, dismantlement, waste management) these Council conclusions will make it impossible for the European Commission to waive the state aid request.

Although we were able to defeat BusinessEurope this time, well-financed and highly cynical forces, around companies like Mittal and BASF, will continue blackmailing policy-makers and fooling citizens and SMEs alike.

According to the summit conclusions, Commissioners Tajani and Oettinger will present by the end of the year an analysis on the drivers of energy prices and costs. Will they listen to the 'crying wolf' arguments of BusinessEurope, arguing that climate policy ruins them even though they make huge windfall profits from their large exemptions on CO2 emission permits (Mittal, BASF); or will they help Europe to get real answers to energy price rises through:

– reinforcing efficiency policies,

– speaking with one voice on gas to Russia in order to remove the oil price indexation, – coming forward with ambitious and binding targets on climate, renewables and energy efficiency policies.

What if the huge steel demand from the massive roll out of wind turbines and the necessary grid infrastructure would be the biggest market for growth in Europe? What if a massive renovation programme in Europe would create the desperately needed jobs in the construction sector and new demands for the EU chemical industry?

Well, maybe designing an ambitious climate and energy policy, makes sense from that perspective and would help lift Europe out of the economic crisis. Avanti Europa!"

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