COMMISSIONER KADRI SIMSON - "INVESTMENTS IN THE GAS NETWORK SHOULD BE FUTURE-PROOF."
About the Commissioner Designate
2019 – 2019: Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure in Jüri Ratas' first cabinet;
2007 – 2016: Member of Estonia’s parliament;
2009 – 2016: Chair of the Estonian Centre Party;
2007 – 2009: Deputy Chair of the National Defence Committee.
What did the debate focus on?
- During the hearing, the debate’s focus was as expected: climate change and the (just) energy transition were raised by most Members of the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committees.
- Country of origin and political grouping tended to determine the focus of questions. For example, MEPs from Simson’s neighbouring Baltics and Scandinavia questioned the role of Russia in the EU energy mix and raised concerns over the nuclear power plant being built in Belarus. On the other hand, members of traditionally pro-business parties, such as Identity and Democracy, repeatedly asked about the burden that the energy transition could have on the private sector.
… and the parallel debate online?
- In the world online, everything around energy transition and the climate change was in the focus of the conversation, followed by funding and investment of (not only) clean energy – the recently announced Just Transition Fund raised interest of various MEPs, and Simson called it “close to her heart”.
- Similar to the debate in the Parliament, the role of gas in the energy transition was largely debated.
- Other focuses were about the role of the European Investment Bank (EIB), infrastructure and renewables.
What does this mean for you?
The hearing indicated that the upcoming 5-year term will be challenging. Judging by both the debate in parliament and online, MEPs and stakeholders continue to prioritise climate change and the EU’s energy transition, which may affect a number of existing or future legislative pieces, including the Gas Directive or the Energy Taxation Directive. No matter the sector or business-size, everyone will likely be expected to contribute to fulfilling the EU’s ambitious climate targets – including all Member States.
Despite this focus, some traditional energy sources have had their importance acknowledged: for example, gas seems to have maintained his favoured position as key driver of everyday business, while the importance that nuclear has in energy transition of countries of Central Europe was mentioned. To conclude, it looks like most of the EU policy makers are now committed to making Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050, and expect EU businesses to join them in reaching this ambitious objective while still keeping in mind the challenges this might bring to businesses.
How can Edelman help?
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