June 11 (UPI) -- A European economy that's self-sufficient in energy and low-carbon could be shielded against the shock of higher crude oil prices, an Irish minister said.
Minister Denis Naughten told European energy ministers in Luxembourg that the European economy should break its link to oil in order to ensure long-term sustainability.
"Presently we see the Eurozone economy beginning to slow down as a direct result of rising oil prices," he said in his prepared remarks released by email. "We must decouple economic growth from oil availability and price."
The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was trading around $76 per barrel early Monday, about 60 percent higher than this time last year. Speaking in May, Angel Gurria, the secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said global economic expansion should be around 4 percent for the year, on par with the long-term average.
In its latest economic outlook report, the OECD said growth nonetheless faces "significant risks" because of global trade tensions and rising oil prices.
Eurostat, the bloc's record-keeping division, reported seasonally adjusted gross domestic product rose 2.5 percent for the countries, like Ireland, that use the euro currency. That's compared with an increase of 2.8 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, in the previous quarters.
"Using renewable energy and improving the efficient use of energy across our economies releases the EU from the constraining impact of fossil fuels," Naughten said.
Naughten said at a Dublin environment conference earlier this year that Ireland was a global leader when it came to integrating renewables onto the electricity grid.
When the EU adopted its renewable energy guidelines in 2009, the Irish economy had about 3.1 percent of its energy sourced from renewables. By the end of last year, Naughten said the energy mix was closer to 30 percent.
Of the 28 members of the EU, 11 have already met their targets, according to the latest European data.