First step towards an environmentally responsible EU energy policy
Commenting after the European Parliament hearing of EU energy commissioner-designate Günter Oettinger (Germany), Luxembourg Green MEP and Greens/EFA energy spokesman Claude Turmes said:
"Günter Oettinger strongly advocated an environmentally responsible EU energy policy today. We particularly welcome his intention to include energy efficiency and renewables as financial planning priorities.
Oettinger committed to propose binding energy efficiency targets if it is clear that the existing non-binding targets are insufficient. He was right to speak against Member States going it alone on energy policy, especially in relation to gas supplies. I am pleased that he also advocated a strengthened common energy policy with regard to countries beyond the EU's borders.
Oettinger made clear that the decision to use nuclear energy rests with national governments and that the EU role is primarily to set the highest possible safety standards.
We remain sceptical however that the new energy commissioner will be fully committed to fair competition in EU energy markets. It remains to be seen whether Oettinger will resist pressure to weaken EU resolve in breaking the energy oligopolies. If he caves in to the pressure of energy giants like RWE and E.on, European consumers will pay the price.
Oettinger showed real commitment in his speech in the European Parliament. Action must now follow his green words. He must show strength of character and keep a professional distance from his personal friends E.on boss Wulf Bernotat and RWE boss Jürgen Großmann. The Greens will be keeping close watch to see if his political actions are consistent with the statements he made today."