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Big step forward in European energy security

| October 31, 2016

By an overwhelming majority, the European Parliament adopted on October 25th the EU Strategy on Liquefied Natural Gas and Gas Storage. As Rapporteur, I am pleased to see the adoption of the strategy, another milestone in creating energy security in Europe. It demonstrates important political support for what is needed to create a more competitive Europe: cheaper, sustainable and more diverse energy. It’s a big step forward, but we need to see more.

As an element of the proposed Energy Union of the highly import-dependent European Union, the strategy calls for diversification of the energy mix as well as further enhancement of sustainability, security of supply and gas market competitiveness. It promotes diminishing dependence on external gas importers of vulnerable states.

It is indispensable that we express our solidarity with those Member States, who can only rely on a single supplier, and this is a first step. Adopting the report, the European Parliament clearly signaled that resolving the situation of the exposed states is a top priority.

Firstly, in order to improve the utilization of the already existing assets, we need to connect the isolated infrastructure. The construction of LNG terminals and the connecting pipelines are important but not sufficient in itself. Without applicable tariffs, standards and procedures – which make up the software – the physical infrastructure remains only empty hardware.

Over the summer, in the committee debate on the proposal, many agreed that the main goal should be to increase the utilization of the existing LNG terminals and gas storages. However, new investments must be carried out as well, if necessary. The construction of new LNG terminals is not enough. In order to provide the option of diversification for those countries that do not have direct access to LNG terminals, the interconnecting pipelines shall be made bi-directional and appropriate tariffs shall be implemented.

The strategy adopted by the European Parliament is yet another milestone in supporting energy security in Europe and an additional step towards the formation of an Energy Union, which is a requisite for global competitiveness.