QCEA responds to EU on External Dimension of Energy Security

The EU does a lot of consulting these days. As at this moment, 27 are open and a further 26 have already closed this year (this is the middle of February!). On one level, you could say, this is just keeping people busy and distracting them from other – and potentially more effective – work. Some of the consultations are very pre-structured, with tick-box responses required to questions that are far too complex for that approach.

Nonetheless, I think responding to those consultations where we have something to say, where our work factors into the issues considered, must have some chance of bringing our voice to the table.

This consultation, on the External Dimension of Energy Security gave us in the QCEA office the chance to reflect both on the need to address energy security from the point of view of ‘how do we reduce the amount we consume and therefore need to be/feel security’ and from the conflict/peacebuilding dimension.

The consultation also raised some difficult question for us; we had to grapple with discussions about nuclear energy, about biomass/biofuels and about the importance of the single market for the leverage the EU has in the global scene on these issues.

You can read the contribution we have made on our website here; it will also be published on the European Commission website where it will hopefully be read by others with an interest in these matters.

I would like to hear responses from Quakers and others to this response and to engage in wider discussion about the issues.

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About Martina Weitsch

Martina worked for Quaker Council for European Affairs as one of two Joint Representatives from 2002 to October 2012. Her main areas of work were the EU role in Palestine/Israel, EU peacebuilding, conflict prevention and crisis management, EU finances, democratic accountability and relations with the European Investment Bank.

One comment

  1. David Sterratt (Central Edinburgh LM)

    I think it’s good that QCEA is responding to this sort of consultation. The responses seem, on the whole, very good to me. The one point I might take issue with is the answer to Question 4. Even if we were to have static or reducing demand rather than “business as usual” growth, I am pretty sure that the demand for electricity will increase as fossil fuels are used less.

    Although the UK does have a lot of renewable resources, some of these resources (e.g. wind) are variable, and can – as in last winter’s still cold snap – produce very little energy for long periods of time. There may therefore be a technological case for efficient (e.g. High Voltage DC) connections to non-EU countries.

    Of course the political and social aspects of this are very tricky. Concentrating solar power stations in North Africa look like a great solution on paper, but the regimes stink, or at least have done. If regimes emerge that are democratic and respect human rights, then I would not wish to rule out the EU investing in efficient High-Voltage DC connectors to these countries, as long as the deals are fair.

    One other point: have you seen the
    Public Debate about 2050 pathways organised by David MacKay, special advisor to DECC?

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