IEA Executive Director calls for "decisive action" to achieve EU Energy Union

6 February 2015

IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven addressing the Energy Union Conference of the EU Energy Ministers in Riga. Photo courtesy of EU2015.LV, all rights reserved

IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven presented the IEA perspective when EU energy ministers gathered in Riga on 6 February to advance the “Energy Union” proposal to better co-ordinate policy. In her speech “Broader Landscape for the European Energy Union”, Ms. Van der Hoeven told the ministers, “If done right, such a Union could be enormously beneficial to the region in terms of boosting economic growth, promoting energy security, completing the internal market and encouraging investment. However in terms of energy, it sometimes seems as if Europe is co-operating even less than ever.”

Ms. Van der Hoeven noted the need for more cross-border gas and electricity interconnections, and warned that the EU must address its entire energy system, especially in light of the looming decommissioning of half of the bloc’s nuclear power capacity as well as many old coal-fired power plants.

Solutions exist, she told the ministers, from liquefied natural gas imports to storage but especially renewables, and the EU must institute policies to further encourage development of all options: “Vision, leadership and decisive action on the realities of the Energy Union is what is needed to take advantage of this opportunity.” 

Ms. Van der Hoeven's speech can be viewed here, starting at 16:30.