High Oil Prices: Action by the EC
Brussel, BelgiÃ« – Speech of Andris Piebalgs, EU Energy Commissioner, on 28 September 2005 in Strasbourg: “High and Volatile Oil Prices: Action by the European Commission European Parliament:
The European Commission is highly concerned about the current situation in the oil market, characterised by an unprecedented rise in prices. The underlying cause for these high prices is the increasingly tight balance between supply and demand, mainly due to a strong growth in the demand for oil over the last years, particularly in the US and China, and, as a result, the current significant lack of spare crude production and refining capacities. In fact, in 2004, there was the largest worldwide increase in oil demand ever.
In such circumstances â€“ where there is limited spare capacity â€“ specific events, such as the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, fuel speculation, pushing prices ever higher.
Because these high prices are beginning to have a significant negative impact on the well-being of our citizens, particularly the most vulnerable, and upon on our economy, the Commission as well as the Member States must focus its efforts on this challenge. Whilst of course the Commission alone cannot solve this problem, I believe that it can make a significant contribution towards bringing prices to more reasonable levels. This is essential for EU citizens, but also for the vulnerable populations in developing countries for whom the impact is ever more devastating.
Following in depth debates within the College and with the full support of my colleagues, and in particular President Barroso, I have recently presented a five point plan of measures that the Commission is already taking, and which will now be accelerated to deal with this challenge.
1. Our first action must be to save energy, to reduce demand;
2. To increase Europeâ€™s use of alternative forms of energy;
3. To increase transparency and predictability of oil markets;
4. To increase the supply of oil and gas;
5. To react effectively to emergency situations with respect to oil stocks.
The Commission has been very active in proposing measures for remedying to the situation. It will be a success, only if all concerned â€“ European institutions, industry, third countries and international organisations – work together. I am determined therefore to use the balanced energy policy model developed in Europe as a model for more international change, and to demonstrate our commitment to helping vulnerable populations both in the EU and in developing countries.
The complete speech of can be found at europa.eu.int/comm/