Energy next EU integration phase

Jan. 6, 2011 at 10:02 AM
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BRUSSELS, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Finding a common energy policy for EU member states will be the next phase in integration, the president of the European Commission said from Brussels.

EC President Jose Manuel Barroso told lawmakers in the European Union, in an address to mark the new year, that 2011 marks a "new phase" in European integration.

Barroso told lawmakers that EU members need to move quickly on implementing an internal energy market by focusing on links in infrastructure and energy efficiency.

He said he was traveling next week to energy-rich Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to push for the so-called Southern Corridor of oil and gas networks, which includes the much-lauded but under-resourced Nabucco gas pipeline.

Europe aims to advance the projects included in the Southern Corridor in order to break the Russian grip on the European energy sector.

On energy efficiency, the European president said he was "unhappy" with the pace at which things were moving in the eurozone. While renewable energy was advancing, energy efficiency wasn't keeping pace.

He said that making "real progress" on policy coordination among members of the European Union was the foundation to energy security in the region.

"I see energy policy as the next great European integration project," Barroso said.

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