Energy commissioner: Choice of energy sources not for European Commission to decide

  • 2022-06-26
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson responded to Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas that the European Commission cannot force countries to extend the use of nuclear energy, the daily Postimees writes.

Following debate in the European Council, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that, when it comes to the issue of energy prices, the European Commission must pull itself together and take the lead in order to better coordinate solutions, for example, several member states have decided to abandon nuclear energy.

"Following the recent European Council, EU energy ministers will meet again in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss the state of the energy market and Europe's security of supply. The situation has been tense already since last fall, but Russia's behavior has significantly exacerbated the risks in recent weeks," Simson wrote on Saturday morning.

She added that 12 member states have today been partially or completely cut off from Russian gas. "EU contingency plans drawn up at the beginning of the year may be needed at any time and member states must ensure that their national plans are ready for implementation. The work of the EU's energy purchasing platform, which began operations in April, must continue quickly: last week we reached an agreement with Israel and Egypt to increase gas supplies, we have just intensified our cooperation with Norway, and negotiations on gas imports from Azerbaijan are nearing completion," Simson said.

She stressed that joint gas purchases require unanimity and coordination between member states, but that the work of the European Commission creates the necessary conditions for this. "The good news is that May once again set a record for LNG that reached Europe -- 12.8 billion cubic meters is the largest monthly volume ever," Simson said.

"Russia's manipulation and blackmail are also keeping gas prices up, which in turn affects electricity bills. In order to mitigate the effects of the rise in prices and in particular to protect those least insured, the Commission issued recommendations to member states as early as October. I also recommend that those forming the current coalition use this toolbox, other European countries from Germany to Finland and the Netherlands to Spain have gotten help from there to protect their people," Simson told Kallas.

"Whether and how the functioning of the EU's electricity market should be changed is a matter of great disagreement among energy ministers -- as is whether it makes sense to extend the use of nuclear energy. The Commission cannot decide for any country on the latter, the choice of their energy sources is a sovereign right of the member states under the European Treaties," she added.

Simson noted that Monday's discussions will not be easy, but they are crucial for the EU to be able to face the winter in a united manner and with the best possible readiness.