Dear Mr President, dear leaders of the European People's Party
I am very thankful to have the great honour to share with You, honourable participants, a few words on one of the most powerful topics of today, energy. As the draftswoman of the EPP report on energy, I am proud to represent you some key points of our EPP energy guidelines. In my mind, the EPP-family has remarkable political strengths when taking part in the energy discussions and policies: In our energy thinking we can be progressive and realistic, yet value-based and environmentally ambitious.
I would like to present to you three important themes:
Firstly, energy issues are becoming more and more political in the European Union and beyond. The question is not only about energy self-sufficiency, but that energy plays an increasingly significant role in our foreign and security policy as well. Energy even affects the quality of our human rights policies. Therefore our energy choices can either weaken or strengthen us politically. We must take note of the political strength that energy supply provides to the supplier and denies to the dependent receiver.
The EPP energy policy should always keep in mind the importance of securing maximum energy self-sufficiency. For places where this is not achieved, we should avoid one-sided dependency, especially on politically unstable sources. Therefore we need to aim for a truly sustainable energy-mix, with emphasis on stable imports and on increasing the indigenous sources.
Secondly, our EPP-family has remarkable political strengths when taking part in the energy discussions and policies. We represent values that always emphasized the policy goals, and we let only the goals define the chosen means. In politics, means are only disposable goods and will become burdens if one is to swear by them, even when the world around us is changing.
Take an example of nuclear, for instance. The rejection of the obvious source of energy that emits almost nothing has to be political dogma but it exists even today as the effects of global climate change are more and more alarming. Still, there are groups that are born to oppose to nuclear power and for them giving up this stance would mean giving up their political identity. We are not shackled like that.
We all know that the world has changed. This means that also the biggest challenges have to be updated and re-evaluated. The threat of climate change is the most serious one and it has to be taken seriously. The climate is not equipped with ideological filters: it can't tell the difference between increased fossil fuel emissions due to so-called "nice reasons", for instance shutting down nuclear power and of those deriving from pure ignorance.
In order to fight the climate change we need an energy policy which recognizes all low emitting energy sources. This is why we should put an end to the traditional juxtaposition between nuclear energy and renewable energy. This confrontation is artificial and often only exists inside our heads. We need every clean kilowatt-hour that we can generate- and still there will not be enough. Therefore we need to invest in energy saving potential and eco-efficiency and in technology which opens us new possibilities in this respect.
Thirdly: we need to move on from one-sided EU climate politics to a global front. Only a truly global action will lead to efficient emission reduction. This means that we need to be honest when analysing the problems arising from the Kyoto protocol as well as from the EU ETS preparing for Kyoto. In doing this we have to emphasize that we are bringing up these problems specifically for climate reasons. The world needs efficient climate policies.
Understandably for the EU, it is politically important to stand in the front line and to show a good example, encouraging others to follow sooner or later. But unless the front can be widened, the EU's efforts will be like taking a few drops out of the ocean or like having a haircut to lose weight. And what makes this especially challenging is the effect one-sided efforts have on the markets. In the global markets this means giving the competitive advantage for the polluter, as the costs of the environmental investments and emissions rights can't be included in the prices. We can call it carbon leakage: the international capital of the global markets invests where there are neither emissions restrictions, nor environmental norms. A pollution shift is not a pollution cut.
So dear members of the EPP family,
by focusing on these three points that I raised, the importance of energy security, the great strengths and possibilities we as the European People's Party have and the need for common global action against climate change, I'm sure we will build policies that will bring us to our goal. The European People's Party is not stuck to simplistic ideological agendas, nor does our philosophy of life lead us to ideologically compulsive movements. We are guided by realistic ambition that will deliver. We must carry the responsibility for future generations. We cannot isolate the needs of Europe from the needs of the others. Benjamin Franklin once said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately".