Die richtigen Konsequenzen?

Europäische Rat will am 17.06.2010 die EU-Strategie „Europa 2020“ verabschieden und damit den Weg für „intelligentes, nachhaltiges und integratives Wachstum“ in der Europäischen Union ebnen. Die Agenda für Wachstum und Beschäftigung soll die größtenteils gescheiterte Lissabon-Strategie ersetzen und eine „Vision der europäischen sozialen Marktwirtschaft des 21. Jahrhunderts“, so Kommissionspräsident Barroso, formulieren.

Die Präsidiumsmitglieder der Europa-Union Deutschland, Reinhard Bütikofer MdEP, Dr. Eva Högl MdB und Dr. Joachim Wuermeling, haben eine kritische Bewertung der neuen EU-Strategie vorgenommen und in der neuen Schriftenreihe EUD-konkret veröffentlicht, hier können Sie die Beiträge nachlesen.

Hier der Text von Reinhard Bütikofer:

Europe needs grand ideas

The Europe of integration was born through grand ideas and developed through grand ideas. In 1951 the creation of the European Community for Coal and Steel established the fundament for today’s Europe – a European community project that had a clear vision of co-operation far beyond the energy sector with which it started. Nearly half a century later, Jacques Delors and Notre Europe, a think tank he founded, are, in a way, returning ad fontes by proposing a European Energy Community. This is as laudable as it is plausible. Europe can only grow together if it acts concertedly. There is an urgent need for a common, cooperative market for energy, which offers security of supply and affordable energy cost. Despite all the merit that Delors‘ initiative deserves, his proposal lacks vision with regard to the sustainability aspect of energy policy. Where is the goal to decarbonise our economy in order to counter climate change? Where is an ambitious strategy for the support of renewable energy in Delors‘ proposal to create jobs? Where is the ambitious demand to link a common energy market with the EU’s transformation towards a sustainable economy?

Europe’s future and success is obviously not only a function of the creation and consolidation of the European internal market. It needs to focus on the environmental and social concepts that we have to develop for Europe. Therefore, the European Energy Community should also embody a clear vision of how Europe can answer the sustainability challenges that we face in the 21st century. Sustainability means competitiveness – a Green New Deal for Europe.

Promoting economic and environmental sustainability with a focus on renewable energy support and energy efficiency must be at the centre of a modern energy policy. Hence, within the framework of a Green New Deal for Europe a transformation to a 100 percent renewable energy sector by the middle of the century is not only reasonable in an environmental perspective, but also economically feasible and smart. Many new studies such as from PwC and the European Climate Foundation concur with this assessment.

Even though such a transformation requires strong efforts, it will make Europe competitive for the future. The money that we spend for the change towards a renewable energy supply today would be saved through lower and more stable energy prices in the future. Moreover, a diverse mix of renewable energies and a lower dependence on foreign carbon fuels will lead to higher supply security in the future. Finally, a transformation to a sustainable energy sector will create jobs and could make Europe the leader in modern environmental technology.

To achieve all that, better cooperation in the European energy sector and the creation of a common electricity grid is necessary, especially as renewable energies are geographically distributed and have to be efficiently transported to where the workload is high. While Delors‘ suggestions provide a good structure for this challenge, it also needs the right strategic content. Here, the vision of a zero-carbon electricity supply based on energy efficiency and the renewable energy sector is the key concept. With this approach, the Energy Community has the potential to re-invigorate the idea of Europe, more precisely the EU, as the indispensible actor. It would indeed be a new grand idea for Europe.

Bildnachweis: Voting on a resolution during Strasbourg plenary von European Parliament – Lizenz: CC-BY-NC-ND