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EU energy ministers will soon discuss the Commission’s plan for energy union, but despite the good signs there are serious barriers to overcome.

During the months to come, EU energy ministers will discuss the Commission’s plan to harmonise the energy systems of member states, and will have to take a formal position at the Luxembourg energy council on 11-12 June.

Energy unionhas been under discussion for years, and most business groups, consumer representatives and political parties believe it should become effective, as it could bring benefits such as cost savings, energy efficiency, lower carbon dioxide emissions and greater ability to bounce back on the occasion of threats to energy supply; however, the plan faces serious practical and political obstacles, and there are strong disagreements over the details of what it would involve and the consequences it could bring.

At the moment energy supplies are spread unevenly across Europe and the systems are not well-integrated, and this is causing high difficulties and costs to transport energy from a nation to another. An energy union could solve many of these problems and would involve wide changes to the way energy systems currently work, allowing power to move more freely across borders and long distances; this could bring efficiencies and economies of scale and also harmonize prices for consumers.

Energy union is not only a practical and technological project, but has also a relevant political dimension; in fact, member states own many energy companies and are reluctant to give up their power over them, and at the same time energy companies are comfortable with agreements that let them act differently in relation to every national markets, with a wide range of pricing structures to maximise profits.


The gLAWcal Team

EPSEI project

Thursday, 26 February 2015

(Source: Guardian)