REGARDING ITS international relations, the European Union should have more assertive diplomatic policy in the energy sector, said Slovak EC Maroš Šefčovič after his second hearing in front of the MEPs in Strasbourg on October 20.
Šefčovič, who over the past four years as European commissioner for inter-institutional relations and administration, passed his first hearing on September 20. At the time he was considered to oversee the transport and space agenda. The situation has meanwhile changed, after the Slovenian candidate for the post overseeing the energy union Alenka Bratušek failed at the so-called grilling. Subsequently, Šefčovič was proposed to the post, which will also secure him the position of EC vice president, while the agenda of transport and space should land with a new Slovenian candidate Violeta Bulc.
Similarly to the first hearing, Šefčovič had to answer both technical and political questions posed by MEPs across the political spectrum.
After the hearing, he told the TASR newswire that energy interests should be taken into account when it comes to the behaviour of the EU in international relations.
“It is high time to have more assertive European energy diplomacy,” Šefčovič said, as quoted by TASR. “One of the first steps should be that the energy interests will make it to the places of the highest priority in all of the bilateral and multilateral negotiations the EU will have with its partners.”
He continued that this applies also to economic and business cooperation, and various energy and climate dialogues.
“We have to use the unified voice of Europe and diplomatic potential which we have to be able to promote our interests in the energy sector more assertively,” Šefčovič told TASR.
According to him, the question over the relations with Russia will belong to the highest priorities. Not only is the country the main supplier of energy to the EU, but also the EU is currently undergoing a difficult period affected by worsened relations with Moscow. Therefore the EU has to find solutions that will take the European positions and interests into consideration and that will help it avoid a repeat of the 2009 gas crisis.
“Of course, with other partners, be it China, India, the US and Brazil, there is a clear agenda,” Šefčovič continued, as quoted by TASR. “This includes achieving success at negotiations over a ambitious and binding agreement over the fight with climate changes that will take place next year in Paris.”
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
21. Oct 2014 at 15:00