Danger of using energy supplies as an instrument of political pressure
- Parliamentary Assembly
debate on 23 January 2007 (4th Sitting) (see Doc. 11116, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur:
Mr Mihkelson). Text adopted by the Assembly on
23 January 2007 (4th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly is aware
that the changing energy landscape is a cause for concern for all regions
of the world, and in particular for most European countries. European
energy demand in fossil-fuel-based energy, with oil and gas taking
the greatest share, continues to grow and is expected to rise by
some 60% by 2030.
2. Taking into account the limited indigenous energy resources
in most European countries, this expected growth in demand unavoidably
means a substantial increase in dependency on oil and gas imports.
Total energy import dependency amounts at present to nearly 50%
in the European Union and is expected to reach 94% for oil and 84%
for gas by 2030.
3. Security in energy supplies – which includes stable and predictable
energy supplies as well as transparency in energy prices – is a
necessary precondition for the smooth and sustainable development
of national and regional economies. In particular, the risk of using
energy supplies as an instrument for political pressure needs to
be effectively eliminated.
4. The Assembly regrets the unfortunate incident which took place
in January 2006, when the gas supply from the Russian Federation
to Ukraine was significantly reduced as a result of a unilateral
decision threatening the stability of the economic situation in
the latter country. The Assembly asserts that similar action in
the future could moreover result in energy difficulties in several
Council of Europe member states.
5. The Assembly believes that the time is ripe to raise the issue
of the future security of energy supplies in Europe in order to
avert a possible energy crisis in Council of Europe member states
and foster the competitiveness of their economies in the global
markets. In Europe, a stable and reliable energy system, based on
mutual commitments in accordance with long-term agreements as well
as on sound and transparent competition rules would be beneficial
for all Council of Europe member states, whether energy producer, supplier
or consumer countries. This requires member states to open their
markets to both national and foreign investors, so as to allow the
market to guarantee that sufficient investments are made and so
that negative effects of any irregularities in the performance of
one actor are mitigated by other actors.
6. The Council of Europe, which brings together both importing
and exporting countries, can and should contribute to European energy
security by promoting the idea of harmonising national energy policies
with a view to establishing a common energy strategy based on solidarity
and fair and transparent economic standards and by encouraging its
members to comply with the principles of market economy.
7. The Assembly supports all efforts by its member states seeking
to ensure future energy stability in Europe, such as those of the
European Union aimed at addressing the issue of stability of European
energy markets, and it welcomes in particular the European Strategy
for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy being worked out
by the European Union in order to identify new challenges and responses
regarding all aspects of energy policy.
8. Among the many factors which affect the security of energy
supplies, the diversification of energy imports is of crucial importance.
The need for such diversification is demonstrated by the fact that,
if the present situation persists, by 2020, the dependency on gas
imports from the Russian Federation will be rather high. For historical
reasons, eastern and central European countries have a much higher
energy dependency on Russian energy exports. For countries such
as Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and several new European Union
member states this is a matter of major concern.
9. The question of diversification in the sources of energy supplies
cannot be addressed separately from the issue of systems for the
transport and distribution of energy. Increasing the choice of supply
routes would enhance the security of energy transmission. The necessary
investments in this area should be strongly encouraged by national
legislation and policies which are both transparent and fair.
10. In this context, it is essential that the rules governing
energy transit be based on the principles of market economy and
should not be dictated by political considerations. The Assembly
believes that the instrument which could ensure respect for these
principles is the Energy Charter Treaty’s transit protocol. Regrettably, negotiations
on the draft text of the transit protocol have not yet been successful.
11. Greater transparency in pricing policies and more efficient
and competitive energy markets are also of crucial importance for
European energy security. The Assembly notes that prices in the
energy sector are currently not based on market economy principles.
This problem should be addressed by European countries with a view
to achieving prices which reflect production and transport costs,
the level of demand, the level of supply or seasonal flows.
12. The Assembly stresses the need for stable and sustainable
economic relations in the energy sector between the main European
energy exporter, the Russian Federation, and other European countries
which depend on imports of Russian energy. This would be strategically
beneficial for all concerned.
13. In particular, a substantial dialogue should be engaged with
a view to establishing a fair and transparent energy system in Europe.
The Assembly is convinced that this dialogue would be reinforced
by the ratification by the Russian Federation of the Energy Charter
Treaty and by the completion of its transit protocol. The European
Union-Russian Federation partnership launched in 2000 to promote
a new energy dialogue between these two entities should be developed.
14. The Assembly is concerned about the fact that the Russian
Federation’s gas market is heavily monopolised by Gazprom. It believes
that it is in the interest of all member states to seek an opening
up of the gas transportation system to both domestic and foreign
competition, thereby ensuring that sufficient investments will be
made in gas production and transportation alike, with a view to
fulfilling both domestic needs and export commitments.
15. Furthermore, the Assembly stresses the need for further development
of new energy sources. Renewable energy is crucial for the future
but is underestimated and under-utilised, notwithstanding its great potential
in most European countries. Therefore the Assembly welcomes the
European Union’s resolve to increase the share of renewable energy
in its total energy consumption to 12% by 2010 and 20% by 2020.
16. The Assembly insists on the importance of improving energy
efficiency in European countries. This is vital for transport, the
building industry and high energy consumption products. It is also
important to reduce energy losses on energy transport and distribution
lines. The Assembly is consequently pleased that the European Commission
intends, in its action plan for energy efficiency, to reduce its
energy consumption by 20% by 2020.
17. The Assembly is aware that the use of nuclear energy is a
sensitive matter for the Council of Europe member states. This should
not, however, prevent member states’ governments from re-examining
the potential role of this technology for enhancing energy security
at national and regional level. The positive results achieved by
several member states regarding both safety standards and energy
production form an example of this potential.
The Assembly believes that, in order to ensure that the principles
of market economy are observed in the energy sector and that energy
supplies are not used as an instrument of political pressure, it
is necessary to:
18.1 set up a pan-European
think-tank to engage a dialogue on energy security in Europe with
a view to establishing a common strategy based on solidarity and
respect for market economy principles and the interests of all parties
18.2 formulate the guiding principles of such a strategy, addressing
such questions as diversification, transport, transparency of prices,
modernisation and construction of infrastructure, improved energy efficiency
and use of renewable energies;
18.3 organise a pan-European conference, with the participation
of both exporting and importing countries, devoted to security in
the energy sector in Europe;
18.4 ensure the signature of the Energy Charter Treaty by the
Council of Europe member states which have not yet signed it: Andorra,
Monaco and Serbia;
18.5 ensure the ratification of the Energy Charter Treaty by
the Russian Federation and Norway;
18.6 ensure the completion of the Energy Charter Treaty transit
19. The Assembly appreciates the development of environmentally
friendly technologies and believes that member states have a responsibility
to future generations to implement these technologies as much as possible.