Energy Union and Cyprus
Lefteris Christoforou- Deputy Chairman of DISY- Member of the European Parliament, EPP
Energy is of vital importance and the European Union is displaying a distinct attention to energy fields. The EU’s energy sources depend almost entirely on third countries and primarily on Russia.
The EU must import 53% of its energy supply and its external spending now reaches more than a billion Euros per day (400 billion Euros annually). This corresponds to more than 20% of the EU’s total imports.
What are the steps needed to be followed in order for the EU to achieve a successful energy strategy and to abstain from energy dependency?
Firstly, an EU Energy Union must be established on solid foundations that will consider the specialties and profits of all EU member states. All of the EU member states have to be members of this initiative. The Energy Union can achieve more effective, efficient and economical energy solutions, while accelerating forward increased political visions and goals for the Union.
The Energy Strategy Plan is valuable for the national interests of our country, since the energy resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus will become European and, subsequently, the EU will mainly have the responsibility of protecting and retaining Cyprus’ energy supply. Secondly, the EU must increase its energy investments and infrastructures, so as to become a global energy player. We have often called on the European Commission to turn its attention to the Eastern Mediterranean, capturing this advantageous opportunity offered by Cyprus’ key geographic and energy role by investing in energy infrastructure, such as the construction of a terminal for liquefaction of natural gas and the transportation of gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to the EU.
Thirdly, the EU can end its energy supply dependency from third countries through the development of renewable energies. There is enormous potential for Mediterranean countries to develop solar energy and for the countries of Central and Northern Europe to develop wind and other forms of renewable energy.
As a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), I have suggested to both the ITRE Committee and the European Commission, as well as the European Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy (Mr. Cañete) to take the opportunity and, through European investments, to transform Cyprus into an innovator in solar energy development.
Cyprus, being the sunniest of the EU countries, could become a model in the field of solar energy production. The EU is already investing millions in third countries, such as Morocco and others, to apply modern methods of solar energy production. Cyprus, having the comparative advantage of the longest sunshine hours, can become a pioneer in the field of solar energy production.
Fourth, the field of energy saving is a powerful weapon towards the implementation of energy strategies. The least expensive energy is unconsumed energy. The EU has to engage in a general enlightenment campaign, with a strengthened energy-saving incentive policy.
A significant form of energy saving is NET METERING, which has to be comprehensively implemented in houses, farms and industries, as well.
With my participation in the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and, in addition, with my continuous activities at the relevant parliamentary committee of the House of Representatives of Cyprus, I have worked to set energy policy as a high priority. We all must try to formulate policies for the benefit of our economy, our society, our energy future, our national interests and the interests of Cypriot Citizens.