Summary Report: EMI Briefing with Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič
Rainer Steffens, Director of the Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) to the EU welcomed the participants on behalf of the Minister for European Affairs for North Rhine-Westphalia. He outlined that the Energy Union nowadays is one of the most discussed topics in Brussels, alongside TTIP and Ukraine. Mr Steffens also drew attention to one of the major concerns of NRW – the Union’s impact on European citizens – an aspect that the European Movement was also keen to highlight. Special focus was also paid to the environmental and climatic impact of the Energy Union.
Jo Leinen MEP, President of the European Movement International, started by welcoming the “most demanded man in Brussels and in the EU”, Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union. “The EU started with energy”, said Mr Leinen, “whilst the Lisbon treaty gave the competences to the EU to deal with energy on the institutional level”.
Vice-President Šefčovič took the floor to express his hope for endorsement of the Energy Union by the European Council and obtaining the mandate from the heads of governments, as the EMI Briefing took place on the eve of the Council’s meeting to decide on the future of the project– final European Council Conclusions on the Energy Union (19 March 2015) can be found here. Vice-President Šefčovič expressed his appreciation for the role of the European Movement in reconciliation, peace-building and creating better understanding of policy. He pointed out that the EMI has been successful in contributing to the big project of bringing people together during the previous 20 years of tremendous transformation ofr Europe, supported by his own personal testimony of living behind the iron curtain.
Vice-President Šefčovič stated that when he was presenting the Energy Union strategy at the European Parliament plenary session, he emphasised the need to fully embrace the future opportunities the project will bring, and to consider it the most ambitious endeavour since the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. The S&D MEP Kathleen van Brempt responded to this statement, highlighting the role of renewables in the process, “let’s make the transition from community of steel and coal into the community of sun and wind”.
EMI Briefing Summary Report
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