With the EU importing over half of its total energy consumption – and with some member states relying entirely on Russia for supplies of natural gas – the Commission’s ‘Energy Security Strategy’ is aimed at securing a stable flow of supplies into the Union.
That includes diversifying the sources of power and building new pipelines across the continent.
For GUE/NGL MEP Xabier Benito Ziluaga, however, such plans completely ignore the needs of EU citizens in austere times amidst numerous environmental challenges:
“This plenary always talks about security yet we never discuss safe access to energy.”
“In Spain, more than 5 million people endure energy poverty – and more people there die from this per year than in road accidents.”
“Such a basic right of access to energy is increasingly becoming a luxury. We must therefore ensure access to power supply for the deprived,” he urged.
In terms of security and concerns over Russia, Benito – who is a member at the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy – said the solution lies not over how to deal with Moscow but on developing renewable energy:
“It’s a problem that Europe isn’t able to generate a genuine transition which will improve energy efficiency on the one hand, and offer the development of renewables on the other,” he said.
“The Commission’s own stress tests on member states when faced with disruption to gas supplies show that if we could meet the 2030 efficiency and renewables targets, we’d be able to decrease our dependency on imports.”
“We should therefore listen to our citizens – not the lobbyists. Nor should we remain partners with energy-rich regimes such as Azerbaijan,” he concluded.