Submission of EPSU to the Consultation of the Commission on EU's energy strategy 2011-2020

EPSU Contribution to

‘Towards a new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020’

A Social Chapter

(15 June 2010)

Our main point:

Commission strategy lacks urgency to address employment and skills problems in electricity and gas sectors and fails to address the social dimension.

General observations
The European Commission published the document to consult with the broader public on its future policies. That is welcome. EPSU has contributed to previous consultations; from our experience it is not clear that these consultations are useful as views not welcome are ignored. Repeatedly EPSU (as well as ETUC) have argued that Europe’s energy policy needs a social dimension. This dimension needs to be integrated in the overall strategy. This has been missing. We urge the Commission to develop this. It would be in line with the Reform Treaty and the horizontal social clause so strongly endorsed by the European Commission President, We hope our contribution assists.

A social chapter is even more important as the Commission is preparing energy policy documents that are to sketch Europe’s energy mix if the EU is to achieve emission reductions of up to 80% in 2050.This reduction is needed to ensure that global temperatures do not rise with more than 2 degrees. A larger temperature increase could result in so-called climate chaos. This would make it impossible to adapt in a gradual manner to climate change. EPSU welcomes the development of such longer-term planning if it includes a social dimension.

The road to such reductions will undeniably be a balance of energy efficiency, fuel saving and policy measures that result in a fuel mix that is zero or carbon neutral. It is important to recognize that the 80% reductions will have to be realized in the EU itself as other countries implement their policies to reach their targets. A comprehensive global agreement would be the preferred route.

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