The energy union – a new step towards sustainability by promoting clean energy

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Abstract

The Energy Union is an important issue on the agenda of the European Commission, which is addressed in the package “Clean Energy for All Europeans”, adopted by the European Commission in November 2016. The present paper deals with the role of the Energy Union in ensuring an optimal framework for a common energy market at the level of the European Union, aimed for the benefit of the consumers in the European Union and of a modern and functional business environment. Which perspectives opens this possible win-win situation is a topic to be analyzed in the present article. The Energy Union is a stronger form of integration within the European Union, related to the internal market of the European Union, which brings more than harmonization of standards and mutual recognition: it brings a common policy and shared values. The goal of this project is to ensure consumer protection through common rules and harmonization, which is a trend at the level of the European Union occurring in various fields of activity and business sectors, such as the Energy Union, the Banking Union, data protection and the competition framework. The main focus on the consumer is new, compared to former attempts of harmonization in specific fields. The challenge rising from this project is to achieve a union in a strategic sector, such as energy. Possible aspects that could hamper the building of the union will be analyzed, for example the fact that some member states of the European Union still rely on fossil fuels, such as the coal industry. The switch to renewable energy sources is related to high costs, as well as to social turbulences on the labour market, that have to be taken into consideration. When drafting measures for the Energy Union, the effects on climate change as well as socio-economic parameters have to be weighed, in order to find the proper balance. It is therefore important to draft appropriate measures ensuring a smooth transition from fossil fuels to Clean Energy. The present paper focuses on these measures proposed by the European Commission. The key elements of the Energy Union will be analyzed in the measures drafted by the European Commission in the package “Clean Energy for All Europeans”. Case studies will illustrate the debated aspects and will provide best practice guidelines as a result. An interdisciplinary approach will be used in the present paper, combining economic and legal issues in a comparative manner.

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