EESC emphasises need for civil society to be involved in Energy Union
In a debate with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on 28 April 2016, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) stressed the importance of establishing an intelligent, efficient and sustainable EU external energy policy, and for civil society to be involved in all aspects of the Energy Union.
The EESC had drawn up an opinion on the State of the Energy Union in 2015, which was adoped at the plenary session on 28 April 2016. The opinion points out that the Energy Union should have a positive impact on job creation, competitiveness and innovation but at the same time it could affect certain sectors, resulting in the need for social assistance and training. The EESC would also like to see civil society (consumer associations, business representatives, trade unions, farmers, environmental associations, scientists and researchers) involved in the annual report process and in the governance of the Energy Union.
Commission Vice-President Šefčovič also re-emphasised the importance of the European Energy Dialogue as proposed by the EESC, saying "The Energy Union cannot be built in Brussels – it requires the support of the Member States and the full support of EU citizens."
In its opinion on the State of the Energy Union 2015 the EESC sees a need for improvement in the statistical foundations of the progress reporting. The Committee also remarks that the governance of the Energy Union cannot be reduced to a purely administrative process but requires a strong political will and shared vision in the Member states and the EU institutions. The EESC has therefore urged the Commission and national governments to give a broad role to civil society organisations in the energy debate.
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