The EU is without any doubt well aware of its gas problem and it has always been. Although there are huge gas fields available in the North Sea as well as in the Groningen field in the Netherlands, Europe still cannot fully support its own gas demands. The gas collected in Europe can only fulfill the 20% of the continent demands. For such a reason the EU is called to collaborate with the natural gas providers from elsewhere outside the Union. At the current time Russia is the major gas provider with almost 40% of the EU gas import. Given the tension that arose in the recent years between the Union and Russia, this issue is rather complicated and needs to be solved.
The MPs expressed different opinions on the matter of collaboration with Russia during the morning’s session. As expected, EFDD spoke out in favor of Russian gas import, while ECR stated that it is necessary for the EU to get more independent from Russia, even claiming that Russia needs “to stop blackmailing the EU”. However, it is worth noticing that the Eastern European countries strongly rely on the Russian gas due to their geographical proximity as stated by the leader of the ALDE.
As GUE/NGL said, energy is a basic good and the EU agenda should strive to help people and represent their needs: “Energy is not a commodity, not something that should be sold, it is a fundamental human right’”. On the other side, factions like the EFDD and the ENF believe that this proposal is one of the most outrageous and contradicting and that there is no point in harmonizing: every member state should deal with it on their own. Although the ECR stands for the necessity of this proposal, they also suggest that „we should maybe not force the independence but rather put them together in social context“. As the GREEN have said, „we do not inherit Earth from our parents, we need encouraging regulations and full energy transparency“.
In the end, we all know that gas demand has grown rapidly across the EU over the past 30 years and power generation shaped by environmental and commercial advantages enjoyed by gas is the key to continued growth over the next several decades.
In general, the EU is most certainly having hard times trying to solve its energy problems. It does not seem to be able to find a common ground while it does have to be ready to act as a mediator and to advocate for the rights of the Union citizens. At present, however, the EU seems to be incapable of resolving the crisis and remains dependent on the external suppliers. Hopefully, there will be a way to establish more cooperation between the member states by introducing a stronger regulation platform in the nearest future.
Liliya Buhela and Matea Sizgoric