The European Union will continue to support projects contributing to the Energy Union objectives in Poland, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said in Katowice. He noted that Poland has played a key role in integrating Europe’s energy markets.

Šefčovič visited Poland for the second Energy Union Tour on May 10-12.

Šefčovič met with Polish Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski to discuss the changes facing the Polish energy sector.

Šefčovič provided an opening speech at the 9th European Economic Congress in Katowice on ‘The energy industry in Europe – the most important questions’.

“I am very glad that such a prominent international conference on the global economy is taking place in this region, here in Katowice. It is no secret that this region of Eastern and Central Europe is developing extremely fast. But it is also very important that the voices of this region grow and reach international fora,” Šefčovič said.

“Looking at the global energy landscape, we are definitely living in interesting times. The balance of power is being significantly redrawn and its main supply and demand centres are constantly changing,” he said.

“On the supply side, the US gas deliveries to Europe are becoming a reality. Poland is one of the frontrunners with the first cargo expected to arrive in Świnoujście LNG terminal in June. At the same time, the stability and reliability of Russian gas flows into the EU have been put constantly into question, even though our experience with transit through Ukraine is positive and Ukraine has been a reliable transit country. The European Commission is working intensively to ensure gas supplies from the Caspian region before 2020,” Šefčovič said.

He referred to “the tremendous role of Poland” in integrating Europe’s energy markets, conceptualised by Jerzy Buzek and Council President Donald Tusk who revived the legacy of Jacques Delors. “The Energy Union now encompasses five areas where the EU needs to seek collective answers to these global changes: in energy security; in the way our internal market in energy functions and delivers welfare for EU citizens, businesses and industry; in the way we consume energy, trying not to waste this important resource by further increasing our energy efficiency; in the way we deal with climate change for the benefit of future generations; And finally in order to strengthen our competitiveness and innovation,” he said.

“Most recently, we have concluded the legislative process on proposals concerning the first dimension of the Energy Union that I mentioned, namely energy security and solidarity: we will have much more transparency in intergovernmental agreements on gas and in commercial gas contracts; we will have better regional cooperation in potential supply crises between EU Member States. All this has been strongly supported by Poland,” Šefčovič said.

He reminded that Poland is already a champion in many aspects of the industrial and energy transition.

“To name just a few examples: half of the concrete and steel foundations for off-shore wind are ‘Made in Poland’; Poland has a great-untapped potential for offshore wind in the Baltic Sea and I know many investors are already looking into this prospect; Polish companies are excelling in energy efficiency products for passive energy houses, such as windows, insulation material, ventilation systems; Poland is also advancing fast on electro-mobility with a target of 1 million e-vehicles registered by 2025; and last but not least Poland is on track to meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions target and has already achieved its 2020 energy efficiency target,” Šefčovič said.

“But much more needs to be done. For example, I know the question of air quality is of major concern in this country. It does not have to be. Pollution is not a force majeure! It is made by Man and can be stopped by Man. I congratulate the region of Malopolska for its recent ambitious project to upgrade households’ heating appliances to the most modern standards,” he said.

Šefčovič repeated his earlier promise that the Commission is highly committed to assist and support the transition to a low-carbon economy, especially for countries with economies that are energy- and carbon-intensive. “The solidarity mechanisms under the EU Emission Trading System will help ten EU countries weather this transition. Poland will benefit greatly from this solidarity mechanism. Apart from this, the EU Structural and Cohesion Funds, the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the Horizon 2020 programme devote significant proportions of their budgets to the objectives of the Energy Union: i.e. competitive, sustainable and affordable energy,” Šefčovič said.

“To give an example, through 24 national and regional programmes, Poland has been allocated 86 billion euros from ESI Funds over the period 2014-2020, which is an annual budgetary effort equivalent to nearly 3% of Polish GDP. Out of this, around 19 billion euros will be invested in projects contributing to the Energy Union objectives in Poland. And of course, other than funding, the EU can provide a great level of technical assistance, creating synergies and spill over of best practices across Europe and the rest of the world,” he said.

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