European Commission Vice President Speaks At The Hoover Institution

Friday, June 3, 2016
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

In a presentation to Hoover Institution fellows and Stanford faculty and students, European Commission vice president Maroš Šefčovič spoke on the global impact and opportunities for the Energy Union. Šefčovič is the EC vice president for the Energy Union, which is the project within the European Union aimed at providing sustainable, secure, and affordable energy to Europe.

Šefčovič said European Union “president Juncker has made the Energy Union one of the top three priorities of his administration.” In his presentation, Šefčovič stressed that, in the face of climate change, providing energy to the 500 million residents in the twenty-eight European Union is challenging.

At present, one-half of the EU’s energy is imported. He stressed that it is important to secure that supply, while at the same time developing new, clean, sustainable energy sources within the EU in order to reduce its dependence on external sources. Especially following the Ukraine crisis, he said it is important “to cooperate with the US on energy security.”

Šefčovič said “stabilized energy leads to a stabilized international order.” The Energy Union is working toward energy security, making it easily and readily available; energy efficiency, through innovation and research; and energy affordability, through competition and diversification. With sustainable and affordable energy, the he sees a future of economic growth and new jobs in the clean energy field replacing those lost in the fossil fuels industry.

Seeking to harness the collective economic power of the differentiated EU member countries, Šefčovič wants them to negotiate in one voice with suppliers to help contain prices and costs for EU citizens and businesses. Further, he feels completing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement signed, which would bring together the world’s two biggest economies, is a priority for the EU.

In response to a question about renewable energy, Šefčovič said the EU’s goal is for 20 percent of its energy to be renewable by 2020 and for it to reach 27 percent by 2030. He acknowledged these goals are “ambitious.”

Known as extremely forthright, in 2014, Šefčovič published Driving the EU forward—straight talks with Maroš Šefčovič, a meditation on his first five years as an EC vice president.

Šefčovič, an elected member to the European Parliament, is a featured speaker at the inaugural meeting of Mission Innovation, the ministerial level meetings currently being held in San Francisco. The meetings, at which the twenty-one largest energy-producing and energy-consuming countries and the EU are represented, are being hosted by US Energy Secretary Ernest Moinz.

Šefčovič’s presentation at Hoover marks a homecoming of sorts. In the spring of 1991, he was in the first cohort of young Czechoslovakian diplomats to participate in the Hoover Institution Diplomat Training Program. Šefčovič was introduced by Hoover fellow Richard Sousa, who with his Hoover colleague Charles McLure, directed the Diplomat Training Program from 1990 to 1995.