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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » August 29, 2012
Special Section: LOTOS
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Central Europe Energy Partners
August 29, 2012   
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Grupa Lotos is an active participant in the ongoing debate on energy security. It has also initiated a number of changes in this area.

The group’s managers believe that a Europe-wide debate on the future of the energy sector is necessary and that this debate should lead to concrete results and optimal solutions. That is why, as an initiative by Grupa Lotos and its president Paweł Olechnowicz, the Central Europe Energy Partners (CEEP) association was established in May 2010. This is the first association and also the first organization in the energy sector in Central Europe that is permanently represented in the European Union—it has offices in Brussels and Berlin. The association, which is designed to be a broad platform for the exchange of information, has actively contributed to supporting legislative processes in the energy sector.

The CEEP, whose members are businesses, scientific research centers and other organizations from Central Europe, aims to play a key role in initiating and providing opinions on EU directives. The CEEP also prepares analyses, scientific studies and opinions with the aim of finding ways to reconcile the interests of all EU countries in energy sector development and energy security. According to the CEEP, each EU country should be able to utilize its own energy raw materials, while the European Commission should review any proposals in terms of their impact on the situation of consumers and member state economies.

The CEEP works closely with leading think tanks such as the Center of Strategic & International Studies and the Atlantic Council in Washington, the Windsor Energy Group and King’s College in London. The association also works with organizations including the International Energy Agency in Paris and Europia in Brussels. The CEEP takes part in all major events relevant for the energy sector that are organized within the European Union, including various working groups. In 2011, the association joined a debate launched by the European Commission on the future of the EU’s energy sector up to 2050.

A blind alley?
Europe, and especially Central and Eastern Europe, faces many challenges as far as energy security is concerned. These are set down in the European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050 document.

According to the CEEP’s Olechnowicz, this document is reason for concern because it adds to the division into the old and new Europe, thus consolidating inequality. “In our common interest, we should make sure that the two parts of the continent form a uniform, balanced and rapidly developing economic area as soon as possible,” says Olechnowicz, who chairs the CEEP board of directors.

Looking at the Energy Roadmap 2050, it becomes obvious that not everyone is fully aware of this fundamental principle. Per capita GDP in the 15 old EU countries in 2010 stood at 28,300 euros, whereas for Central Europe it was 9,000 euros that same year. This difference has not diminished since 2005. The strategy for the energy sector outlined in the Energy Roadmap 2050 does not take this difference into account. The roadmap assumes that the EU will reduce its carbon dioxide emissions without taking into account the significantly different conditions in individual member countries.

The EU’s recent proposals for reducing emission quotas in the 2013-2015 period also raise doubts as to their feasibility, especially from the point of view of Central European countries. It is very likely that one unintentional but definite effect of this particular concept will be an increase in differences between the old and new EU members. At the same time, it is possible that the 15 old EU countries, which are struggling with substantial structural problems at the moment, will also fall victim to the strategy set down in the Energy Roadmap 2050.


FACTFILE
The CEEP has been in operation since June 2010. At present the association has 16 members; they are companies from Lithuania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland. Talks are under way with prospective members from Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Croatia. The association is an increasingly powerful voice speaking on behalf of Central and Eastern European countries in a united Europe.
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