• NGOs want energy ministers to act on transport

    T&E has joined with four other Brussels-based environmental groups to urge EU energy ministers to put transport on their agenda.

    The five NGOs are alarmed at the Commission’s wish to weaken energy-efficiency commitments for cars and “decouple” economic growth from transport growth, especially at a time when 70% of Europe’s oil is used for transport and oil is rising in price. And they want energy ministers to take a more active role.

    This month, energy ministers are due to discuss a “New European Energy Policy” in preparation for the spring summit (23/24 March). The policy is intended to have three pillars: security of supply, competitiveness, and sustainability.

    In a letter to all 25 EU energy ministers, the five NGOs (T&E, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Climate Action Network and WWF) call on the energy council to initiate concrete measures that will make Europe’s energy policies “truly sustainable and resource-efficient, and thus more competitive”.

    The letter says a New European Energy Policy “only makes sense if the transport sector is taken into account”, and calls for the main elements of a new energy policy to be energy efficiency, renewable energy, and transport, firmly excluding nuclear power.

    T&E director Jos Dings said: “The energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs is a good exception to the current trend, in that he at least publicly acknowledges the importance of transport and shows a desire to engage. But he is being undermined by a belief among energy ministers that transport is still the exclusive domain for transport, industry and environment ministers.”

    The Commission has convened its “high-level group” on competitiveness, energy and the environment, but with a composition MEPs and NGOs say is unbalanced.

    The European Parliament was so angry it has so far declined to send the four representatives it is entitled to. And in a statement to the high-level group’s first meeting, 10 Brussels-based NGOs said the group was dominated by large energy users and traditional energy suppliers, with no representatives from the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, consumer and health groups, academic and research bodies, public transport providers, or environment ministers.

    This news story is taken from the March 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.