Single EU energy market urgent, says Economy Minister

Europe needs a fully integrated energy market, Latvian Economics Minister Dana Reizniece Ozola said after a meeting of EU energy ministers in Riga Thursday.

"The debate was interwoven with the aspect of urgency, with the ministers repeatedly stressing the necessity to develop a fully functioning and interconnected Europe's internal energy market in order to ensure uninterrupted energy supplies to Europe," Reizniece-Ozola told newswire BNS.

The EU energy ministers focused on the creation of the European Energy Union as the main topic, but also considered the development of energy infrastructures and the latest concerns in the sphere of energy security.

"The creation of an efficient Energy Union that would facilitate the strengthening of Europe's energy independence and the implementation of the climate change policy is one of the priorities of the Latvian presidency [of the Council of the EU]... Changes are needed in Europe's energy policy. In the current political situation, new solutions must be found to reduce Europe's energy dependence and to develop a fully integrated market...

The ministers agreed that the objective of the Energy Union is to find a balance between the accessibility, security and sustainability of energy sources and Europe's competitiveness by promoting a low-emissions economy. The ministers also concluded that it is necessary to step up member states' cooperation on the creation of an integrated and efficiently functioning single energy market," the Latvian economics minister said, remarking upon the results of the ministerial meeting.

According to representatives of the Latvian Economics Ministry, the EC presented its strategy for the creation of the European Energy Union at the meeting. The EC acknowledged several problems in the European energy sector that cannot be dealt with by using only the tools at hand.

The EC compared the creation of the European Energy Union with the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1950. The planned creation of the Energy Union is especially important to Latvia, which aims for a greater independence of its energy sector and is looking for alternative suppliers.

The results of the ministerial meeting will be submitted to Council of the EU President Donald Tusk and the European Council.

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