Policy Proposal by Jacques Delors
Towards a European Energy Community
When six European states decided in 1951 to integrate two key sectors of their economies to create a Community, their purpose was to replace conflict with cooperation and antagonism with prosperity. Energy was one of the sectors, and almost sixty years later, energy is still at the top of the political and economic agenda. However, the rules that ensured equal access to common resources no longer exist. Despite increased regulatory activity, Europe has lost its ability to pursue a truly common policy covering the three objectives that are essential to energy policy today: affordable access to energy; sustainable development of energy production, transport, and consumption; and security of supply.
These objectives are not necessarily irreconcilable, provided that the right balance is struck and that technological innovation is efficiently and effectively channelled. The difficulty of this task is compounded by the various crises our societies are facing. It is dangerous and illusory to assume that these challenges can be addressed at state or regional level, or that loose cooperative structures have the ability to make hard choices. The climate crisis calls for new priorities and reduces the available options. Alternative policies are required, together with the decision-making capabilities necessary for the adoption of compulsory measures. If Europe’s leaders wish to take on the new challenges collectively, they must ensure that Europe’s energy policy provides the decision-making tools to support these difficult policy choices and that it can accommodate change.
The aim of this report is to examine whether the three objectives can be achieved under the existing energy policy in a consistent and credible manner and to determine what institutional framework would be needed for an enhanced European energy policy.
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