Defence Policy

Economic Forum: Energy Union Is Driven Towards A “Climatic Union”.

The experts involved in the “European Energy Union and the energy security of Poland” panel, organized as a part of this year’s Economic Forum in Krynica, unanimously stated that the centre of gravity of the Energy Union is slowly shifted from the gas area, to the climate issues. The above is a result of different interests pursued by the Western and the Eastern parts of the EU.  

The discussion involved: Andrzej Kozłowski, Strategy Executive Director of the PKN Orlen Company; Janusz Lewandowski, Head of the Polish PM Economic Council; Tomasz Chmal, Attorney at Law of the White&Case W. Daniłowicz chancellery and Paweł Turowski, analyst of the National Security Bureau.

Kozłowski stressed the fact that the “energy needs of the EU member states are highly varied, it is difficult to find a common ground,” thus the Energy Union initiative requires some long term planning. Unfortunately, “its momentumis gone along with the culmination of the Ukrainian crisis. The above voice was echoed by Tomasz Chmal, who stated that “without the Crimean events and the Donbass conflict, the Energy Union would not exist”.

The experts, asked about the development of the Energy Union in the future, unanimously indicated that the concept is evolving towards a “Climatic Union”. Paweł Turowski confirmed the fact that the project momentum is gone, however only within the Mid-Eastern European context. The Western part of the EU, which is better developed, adopted the Polish concept to realize its own economic requirements, thus – according to the BBN analyst – more pressure is placed on reduction of the CO2 emission and development of the renewable energy sources. “As a result – not much is left out of the Tusk’s postulates” - as it was summed up by Turowski.

Janusz Lewandowski did not share that opinion, stressing the fact that the “Energy Union became a permanent part of the EU lingo”. He added that “thanks to the Eastern European, also Polish, sensitivity, this became possible”. As a result, the initiative turned out to be quite beneficial for Warsaw, as it also brought the money needed to develop the interconnectors. As Lewandowski stated, the above constitutes a great added value. He stated that indeed, in Brussels “the energy and climatic agendas are pushed against each another, and it is the climatic agenda that usually wins the conflict, however, in some areas, thanks to the Energy Union, an evident pivot may be noted. Here, we mean the serious attempts of reaching out, in order to exploit the gas deposits in Azerbaijan.

A lot of space was devoted to the upcoming Climate Summit in Paris, especially within the context of the transformation of the Energy Union. Kozłowski stressed the fact that “reduced emission would be possible thanks to investment in the proper technologies. In order to implement the above technologies into use, one would need the funds, and guarantees for the industry, ensuring that the EU would not turn its back on crude oil and other traditional sources of energy”. According to Chmal, the climate summit is going to “cool down the European reactions, should it turn out that the world, which is responsible for 85% of the current emission, does not want to follow its footsteps.”

Solidarity was yet another issue referring to the Energy Union. Lewandowski stated that the community should get over the energy egoism issues. He referred to Viktor Orban, the PM of Hungary, who expands the Paks nuclear power-plant, together with the Russians, ignoring the European Union. When asked about the issues related to the Nord Stream II pipeline, he stated that “unfortunately, the major players still have more options – there are initiatives that may be stopped, such as the South Stream, and there are initiatives which are hard to be stopped”.  Kozłowski also claims that the development of the Energy Union is going to be dependent on overcoming of the national egoism. He stressed the fact that “if we are going to pursue solely our own interest, we will gain nothing.

Turowski presented a skeptical stance, referring to the energy solidarity of the EU. The analyst working for the National Security Bureau stated: “The Presentation of the Polish stance in the Energy Union project is barely traceable”. According to the analyst, the egoism is present in the areas where we look for solidarity – e.g. within the area of integrating the EU energy systems, which is a result of “the development of the sources of renewable energy and uncontrolled flow of energy, it is not an effect of deeper considerations.”