The European Parliament on Tuesday set out wide-ranging recommendations for the future European Union(EU) energy policy, including mandatory emergency action plans in case of gas supply shortages, more grid interconnections among EU member states, a specific roadmap for investments in nuclear energy, and new climate targets to be achieved by 2050.
The parliament adopted a report by 406 votes in favor, 168 votes against and 87 abstentions on the EU's future energy security, which will be debated at an EU summit in March.
Citing the recent gas supply crisis between Ukraine and Russia, which left many EU citizens without heating, the report calls on the European Commission to propose revision of a gas supply directive before the end of this year, which should include "mandatory and effective national and EU emergency action plans."
The action plans should provide for a common declaration of an emergency situation, the allocation of available supplies and infrastructure capacity among the affected countries, coordinated dispatching, and the activation of emergency measures in unaffected or less affected states in order to increase the amount of gas available to the affected markets.
The report also wants the EU to develop gas storage with fast-release capacity and to establish a single gas grid linking up all EU member states.
The report wants the development of gas and electricity interconnections through Central and Southeastern Europe and the integration of the Baltic Sea region into the Western European energy network.
The EU, Russia and Ukraine should conclude a trilateral agreement to secure gas supply from Russia via Ukraine to the EU in the coming years, says the report.
The European Parliament supports projects to diversify supply routes and sources. In the longer term, when political conditions permit, supplies from other countries in the Caspian region, such as Uzbekistan and Iran, should represent a further significant supply source for the EU, says the report.
The report calls on the EU's heads of states and government to adopt new climate targets to be achieved by 2050: a cut of at least 80 percent in greenhouse gas emissions on the 1990 levels, a35 percent improvement in energy efficiency, and a 60 percent share of renewable energy in the EU's total energy consumption.
Saving energy is the most effective and cost-efficient way of improving energy security, says the report, calling on the European Commission and member states immediately to adopt a legally binding energy efficiency improvement target of at least 20 percent by 2020.
The two other 2020 targets -- reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent and increasing the share of renewable energy to 20 percent -- are already fixed by the EU's climate change legislation, adopted in December 2008.
The parliament welcomed the proposal to submit a plan for an offshore network in the North Sea in order to exploit the enormous wind energy potential, and also welcomed the creation of a European supergrid by linking the network infrastructures of the North Sea, Mediterranean and Baltic regions.
The report calls on the European Commission and member states to ensure appropriate regulation and to allow for non-discriminatory access to new infrastructure, for example, to the North Sea offshore grid.
The European Parliament considers it important to maintain nuclear energy in the EU's energy mix and calls on the Commission to draw up a specific roadmap for nuclear investments.