'Price and accessibility’ to drive Romania’s energy agenda at EU helm

(EurActiv, 26 Oct 2018) Romania intends to push “price and accessibility” of energy as the guiding principles of its EU Presidency next year – whether it relates to the EU’s 2050 climate goals, the expansion of nuclear power, new gas pipeline projects, or even coal.

Romania will take the EU mantle from Austria for six months on 1 January, in a political environment constrained by Brexit and the May 2019 European elections.

“It will be a challenge, because it’s a very short time that we have at our disposal,” said a diplomatic source who briefed reporters in Brussels on Thursday (25 October).

Romania will only have three months to close legislative files before the European Parliament goes into recess for the May European election.

“So there will be competition for time, in whatever we do,” the source explained, underlining that Britain’s exit from the European Union, expected on 29 March, “will compete for political attention” and add “political unpredictability” to Romania’s EU Presidency.

But that does not mean Bucharest has no ambition for its six-month stint at the EU’s helm.

“In general, climate change will feature quite high on our agenda. And specifically decarbonisation of transport,” the diplomat said, citing a proposed EU bill to reduce CO2 emissions from trucks, the Eurovignette directive for charging heavy-duty vehicles, as well as new tyre labelling rules.

The international climate agenda will feature prominently in the background. In November, the European Commission will present its low-carbon strategy for 2050, kicking off a year-long consultation process with EU member states, industry associations, and other interested parties that will conclude around end 2019.

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EurActiv, 26 Oct 2018: 'Price and accessibility’ to drive Romania’s energy agenda at EU helm