Barroso calls for action on internal market for energy

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, has called for the completion of an internal market for energy. Speaking at his first ‘State of the Union’ speech in Strasbourg today, he said “energy is a key driver for growth and a central priority for action.”

“We need to do for energy what we have done for mobile phones: real choice for consumers in one European market place”, he told MEPs at the European parliament’s September plenary session.

For renewable energies, he said Europe needs to “have the infrastructure for solar and wind energy.”

Barroso’s speech was intended to outline the EU’s priorities, with a particular emphasis on the EU’s role in boosting economic growth.

The internal market is “Europe’s greatest asset, and we are not using it enough. We need to deepen it urgently,” Barroso stated.

The Commission President’s call to action chimes with the opinion of Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA. “Given the international nature of the energy challenges that the EU is facing, it is astounding that 24 years after the Single European Act was signed – establishing the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour between Europe’s nations – we still do not have an internal market for electricity,” Kjaer said.

“Europe’s current electricity supply structure still bears the characteristics of the time in which it was developed. It is national in nature, the technologies are ageing and the markets supporting it are underdeveloped.”

“We urgently need to establish a fifth freedom within Europe: the free movement of energy across borders,” Kjaer said.

Barroso said that over the next year the Commission will propose an energy action plan. He called for an integrated European approach that will see the different strands of EU policy on climate change, energy, transport and the environment become part of a low carbon future.

By Zoë Casey,