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Matteo Cazzulani

Buzek, Toia at the Head of ITRE Committee to Push for EU Energy Union

Both the former Polish Prime Minister and former Italian Minister of EU Affairs support the EU Energy Union, which is a proposal of Polish PM Donald Tusk and French President Francois Hollande. The appointment of Gianni Pittella as the head of Group of the Party of European Socialists (PES group) and the election of Polish MEPs to the Presidency of several committees also favor the support to a project, which is fundamental to guarantee energy and national security of EU member States.

Reuters: Italian EU presidency backs South Stream

More context: Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2014

Former Polish PM Jerzy Buzek and former Italian Minister of EU Affairs Patrizia Toia are deeply committed in the realization of EU Energy Union. Now that Buzek and Toia have been elected respectively the President and the First Vice President of European Parliament Energy, Industry and Research Committee -ITRE- both MEPs are ready to work on a urgent measure, which is needed to guarantee energy and national security of all EU member states.

The EU Energy Union, a project proposed by Polish PM Donald Tusk and endorsed by French President Francois Hollande, is conceived to strengthen EU energy independence from Russia and Algeria. Those countries often use energy as a “geopolitical weapon” toward EU member states and other independent countries of former soviet world, as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, in order to move them to support Russia’s geopolitical interest.

EU Energy Union consists in the diversification of EU gas supplies by the realization of new pipelines and LNG terminals in Europe. EU Energy Union also requires the unification of Gas Transportation Systems of all EU member states, and also the full liberalization of EU energy markets, in order to drop gas costs for EU industries and private users.

Once he was elected the President of ITRE Committee, MEP Buzek underlined that ITRE will immediately work hard on the official project of EU Energy Union. President Buzek also argued that EU Energy Union will be a priority of ITRE agenda, as well as industrial policies and the progress of EU scientific research.

By her part, Vice President Toia, who already acted as ITRE Vice President during past legislation of European Parliament, said that the reduction of gas costs allows ITRE committee to invest more money on EU research and industrial development. Moreover, MEP Toia also stressed that EU Energy Union was previously conceived by two former Presidents of EU Commission of European center-left: Jacques Delors and Romano Prodi.

The election of Buzek and Toia at the head of ITRE Committee, which is filed with a coalition agreement between Buzek’s center-right European People’s Party and Toia’s center-left Party of European Socialists and Democrats is a strong signal that the European Parliament sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is actively lobbying through bilateral negotiations with EU member states for the realization of Southstream pipeline.

Once realized, Southstream will boost EU energy dependence on Russia. For this reason, the EU Commission opposes the realization of the pipeline, even by criticizing those EU member states that reached bilateral agreements with Russia on the issue, as Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia.

The role of Buzek and Toia in supporting EU Energy Union could be also strengthened by Italian MEP Gianni Pittella: the new head of PES at the European Parliament, who already acted as the First Vice President of European Parliament during past legislation when he was deeply committed in the diversification of EU gas supplies as a way to drop energy costs and reinvest money to create new jobs in those countries in which economical and social crisis are quite strong.

In addition to Pittella, EU Energy Union could also be endorsed by several Presidents of other Committees who come from Poland, which is the most committed EU member state in the realization of EU Energy Union because of historical, political and cultural reasons.

In addition to Buzek, Polish Presidents of Committees of the European Parliament are EPP Danuta Hubner and Czeslaw Siekierski – who were respectively elected to the Presidency of Constitutional Affairs Committee ASCO and Rural Affairs Committee AGRI – and Anna Fotyga – President of Defense and Security under-committee – who is a member of European Conservatives and Reformists group – ECR.

Sikorski faces many “pro-Russia opponents” to his appointment as EU Foreign Minister

Although the great support enjoyed by influential MEPs, EU Energy Union promoters could met hostility at EU Council and EU Commission, where the majority of member states Leaders and EU Commissioners showed coldness toward the plan of PM Tusk and President Hollande.

In particular, PM Tusk couldn’t get the support of several EU member states, as France, Greece, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Czech Republic, to the appointment of Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski as the High Representative of EU Foreign and Defense common policy.

Those countries did not share Sikorski’s deep commitment in the recovering of Democracy in Ukraine during Kyiv’s Maydan peaceful revolution, neither Sikorski’s engagement in the rapprochement to the EU of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova by the signature of EU Association Agreements.

Sikorski, who could really use his European charge to push for a quick realization of EU Energy Union, can so just trust on the support of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark and Romania, while “anti-Sikorski” EU countries seem to prefer the appointment of Bulgarian outgoing EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva at the head of EU Foreign and Defense policy.

If appointed instead of Sikorski, Georgieva could assume a more appeasing attitude toward Russia in what concerns Ukraine and Eastern Europe, and also in the strengthening of Tusk and Hollande backed EU Energy Union.

Sikorski, who as a Pole better understands the necessity to strengthen EU energy dependence and to promote Democracy and Liberty in Eastern Europe, in order to ensure EU national security and economical prosperity, can also hope to be appointed the new EU Energy Commissioner.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose position toward Russia is quite soft, in particular in what concerns energy deals, already confirmed outgoing EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger for a second term as the head of EU Energy policy.


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