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Energy 12 March, 2019 10:00 am   

Energy in the mainstream of election


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The election to the European Parliament is approaching. Energy has entered the mainstream of political debate, but has also unified the positions of the major parties. The politicians of the main parties are starting to repeat the same – says Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of BiznesAlert.pl.

Two of the twelve points of the declaration of the European ruling party concern energy. Law and Justice promises voters a fight to defend energy security. Thanks to the PiS deputies in Brussels, Europe is to be “energy independent”. It is a promise to further criticize the dependence of Europe on gas from Russia through the Nord Stream 2 project and putting on its own production capacity, in Poland mainly coal.

A signal in this direction is also another point, namely the postulate of a just climate policy of the European Union, which will “take into account Polish interests”. This is a preview of the further promotion of the “just transition” concept promoted by Polish energy groups in Brussels, as an evolutionary energy transformation with compensating mechanisms such as the power market, compensation and longer transition periods.

Opposition politicians also take up energy issues in a surprising way of entering into the rhetoric of the ruling party. The President of the Polish People’s Party (PSL) Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz at wPolsce.pl criticized the lack of European solidarity regarding the disputed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. – If we talk about European solidarity, it was not the case with Nord Stream 2. I do not see it there and consider it as failure. We will do everything to reverse this situation and lead to independence of energy security – said Kosiniak-Kamysz. This is an interesting change compared to the renegotiation of the Yamal contract by the minister of economy from the PSL in 2010.

Not only did energy break through to the mainstream, but also the main media message on European energy policy was unified. We have a consensus around Nord Stream 2 and Baltic Pipe, as well as around a moderate climate policy, against which only Nowoczesna.pl and the Green Party are facing with the faint support of voters. It is in them that the voter will find support looking for an alternative to the moderate mainstream.

The fact that there is consensus around the key issues of energy policy allows politicians to use slogans of energy security without consequences, because every voter demands it. The devil, however, is in the details. When the dust settles after the elections to the European Parliament, politicians will have to return to work against Europe’s addiction to gas from Russia using Nord Stream 2 and for a just transformation of Silesia.

It turns out that they achieve the greatest successes when they cooperate with each other. An example may be cross-party action at various levels of Polish policy on the revision of the gas directive that can entrap Nord Stream 2 or a joint effort to raise funds for the transformation of post-mining regions. The Sejm discussed the possibility of obtaining even a dozen or so billion PLNs for transformations in Silesia.

– When we cooperate, we can really influence the actions of the European Union. Then there will be no accusations that the EU is doing everything against us and serves the Germans – said prof. Jerzy Buzek, the nestor of the Polish energy policy, head of the negotiators of the revision of the gas directive and the Silesian struggling for European funds for energy transformation, currently at the head of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in the European Parliament.