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Control of national renewable energy sought by Brussels

European commissioner Günther Oettinger called for decisions on energy to be taken away from national governments.

Mr Oettinger admitted that Europe did not meet its 2010 renewable energy targets.

European energy commissioner Günther Oettinger called yesterday for decisions on energy markets, security and renewable energy to be taken away from national governments and made in Brussels, as he admitted that Europe did not meet its 2010 renewable energy targets.

“These are strong arguments for giving [the EC] those powers,” Oettinger said in a speech to European policy-makers. “In the next decade you would give greater value, or decide on a higher value for renewable energy in the [EU] energy mix.”

His call was supported by the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, who said that European security and autonomy could only be achieved through more integration.

Under Article 194 of the Lisbon Treaty, individual EU member states have authority over their choice, use and structuring of energy resources.

In many countries this authority is jealously guarded because it is seen in terms of national security or as being politically useful during elections.

Several of them have still not transposed, or have only partly transposed, the the European Unions third energy package, intended to harmonise European markets into national. Furthermore, the energy mix of every state is qualitatively different.

Schulz acknowledged, however, that in the short term there would be no changes to Article 194. “The [energy] choice is made by member states and they are right to choose and we cannot get rid of that. But the right to choose your energy mix is a problem and we’re going to have to talk about it a lot,” he said.