Fuels such as oil and gas have been imported to the European Union in great amounts, while Australia, Canada, Niger, Kazakhstan and Russia maintained the privilege of being the five largest suppliers of Europe to cover its energy needs at a percentage of 75% in 2009.
Given the above, European leaders took the initiative to establish the European Union Energy project, launched in February 2015, in order to render Europe competitive concerning the European energy supply. For that purpose, this project has as a primary goal to provide secure, sustainable, affordable and competitive energy, adopting at the same time a climate policy. The introduction of such policy indicates that Europe must reduce its emissions from all primary energy sources by 2020.
As we may infer, Europe has a double challenge to deal with; on the one hand, it is preponderant that it increases its energy supplies so that it achieves an “energy independence and sufficiency”; on the other, Europe needs to do so by implementing, at the same time, measures appropriate for ensuring the environmental balance and protection.
In particular, only solution to that issue appears to be a commercial and financial use of renewable sources of energy; enough to satisfy the European energy needs, but hopefully harmless to the environment.
As a result, nowadays, Europe has already started negotiations and international agreements with other nations, in order to get more competitive and accomplish a “liberalization” of the energy market. The introduction and implementation of legal acts and regulations tend to that direction as well.
The European Commission and the Parliament have “invested” their hopes in energy sector by undertaking structural reforms, such as the European Union Energy Package.
This strategy includes ownership unbundling, which aims to separate companies generation and sale operations from their transmission networks. In other words, it suggests a splitting between generation (production of electricity) from transmission (of electricity from electrical generating station via a system to a distribution system operator or to the consumer). Nevertheless, economists seem to have second thoughts on the efficiency of that policy, since it proves to be vague and it does not define the one who can buy the transmission networks or the one who will pay possible compensation to the energy firms.
Another crucial argument against this strategy has to do with the fact that, as it is obvious, Member States have organized a different market structure each one during the past decades; so here arises the question whether and how they will incorporate such reforms which are expected to change drastically their so-far standards. Evidently, it is of high necessity that they adjust their market policy to an equable legislative system without any deviation from it.
We reach the conclusion that, no matter how hard the European Union tries to “merge” with the international energy market and despite all the willingness it may shows for energy cooperation and comprehensive framework agreement with other energy producer and transit countries, there is still a long way to run. There are alternatives and perspectives that need to be seriously taken under consideration, for Europe to acquire the Energy efficiency it yearns. Undoubtedly, there might be obstacles in the process and the challenge remains, but it worth the shot.
It has been said that “desperate times require desperate measures”. Yet we hope that Europeans can handle the situation with diligence and dignity.
Would have been easy and simple to achieve prosperity and high quality standards nowadays, we would not be talking of financial crisis anymore.