Energy Union: view from Rome

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Following the announcement of the shared Polish-French idea to develop an EU Energy Union, we’ve asked ECFR  staff from Berlin, Rome, Sofia, Warsaw, and Madrid, to contribute to our “View from the capitals” series. How do the different member states view the proposal? Are the governments going to support it? 

On the occasion of the dual papal canonisation and his visit to Rome, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The two discussed the Ukrainian crisis and EU energy security, focusing on the recent Polish-French proposal for an Energy Union. 

The Polish-French project represents an important input for a further discussion among European member states, a discussion long overdue and whose urgency has been demonstrated by the Ukrainian crisis.

Europe is still lacking a common and coherent energy policy that could guarantee a more assertive approach towards its main supplier, Russia. Therefore, this is a priority for the Italian government, both for its internal, national dimension and for the international one as well.

At the national level, like in other member states, the Ukrainian crisis has prompted a  lively debate, especially on the issue of energy security and independency. Although the Italian government has always assured that, in the short to medium term, Italy will not be affected by the crisis, including in terms of energy supply, the Italian leadership has taken the opportunity to stress the urgency to work for a more integrated EU. Thus, the joint French-Polish proposal fits the Italian government’s strategic orientation, which is already described in its 2013 National Energy Strategy, among whose pillars are energy diversification, i.e. greater energy independency.

At the European level, energy will also be crucial for the upcoming Italian EU presidency (from July 2014). Italy’s priorities include a more integrated EU energy policy, and the Italian government plans to ask for a European Council conclusion on the completion of the energy market for 2014. Italy's ambition is to promote more integration between energy and climate policies, as encouraged by the European Commission’s Green Book. As for the external dimension of the energy issue, Italy intends to strengthen the dialogue with Israel, Algeria, Russia, Azerbaijan, and the Western Balkans and is calling for a more co-operative, coherent, and independent European energy policy. 

Rome just hosted the G7 on energy. Among the conclusions, which will be addressed during the June G7 Summit in Brussels, the urgent need to reinforce a common energy policy to guarantee a more reliable and sustainable energy diversification.

This blog is part of a series of views from the capitals on a European Energy Union. You can find the whole collection here.

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