European Commissioner for Energy (2004 – 2010), European Commissioner for Development (2010 - 2014)

I think I will spare time going through European history on energy, but I believe that there is a new dimension now evolving.

It is the so-called Energy Union. And you would wonder what is the difference between the EU policies and the Energy Union policy. I think there are at least three dimensions.

One dimension is that energy policy is being very sensitive.

And speaking of this, it is very important to clearly see the problem and to speak about it with one voice. During my time it was sometimes very difficult because each member state sometimes tried to get some specificity.

The second issue is the EU market, and I’m proud that by far it is the most liberalized market in the world. We need to integrate a lot of renewables and there should be the grid with no cross-border clogs. The interconnection level between EU will be less than 15 %, but, for example, in the Baltic region where I’m coming from, it’s 22 % capacity for the interconnection.

So, it basically means that we can establish a very high-functioning market. But there is also additional advantage financially because you don’t need to have some additional electricity capacity in each country in case there is demand.

You can get it across the border. So it completely changes the nature of the market.

Third – it is the stronger focus on the driver of the change.

We have had this policy of 20-20-20: 20 % less CO2, 20 % renewables, 20 % - energy efficiency. It will be reached in the EU as a whole by 20-20. But the lessons we learnt: we put more effort on carbon price. Because carbon price has been by far a way larger driver of the investments than expected. From 2021 each year the number of allowances in most energy sectors of CO2 emission will decrease by 2.2 %. So, overall the drop of the CO2 emission will be 30-40%. So, a 40 % decrease in CO2 emissions will be the main driving force in the investments and in the common market. That means that it will make the best return that we could expect from such type of regulation.

At the same time, renewable energy is still very much run on focus, it’s 27% EU target and what we will try to do, is to make the scheme not so country-specific as far as we can.