Energy: Commission to Look into Social Aspects of Energy-Sector Liberalisation

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The European Commission's DG Transport and Energy (DG TREN) intends to update the 2001 study on the social dimension of liberalisation of energy markets in the EU, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told a conference of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) in Brussels on November 4. The study will also look into the impact on employment of other energy related legislative texts, in particular the Cogeneration Directive (2004/8/EC) and the Directive on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy (2001/77/EC). This study will be not only quantitative, but also qualitative in association with social partners.

Following numerous complaints from the unions who feel that the social dimension has been neglected in the Treaty on South-East Europe's Energy Community, Mr Piebalgs announced that a Memorandum of Understanding on the integration of the social dimension in process of energy market reforms was being prepared. This protocol will include three chapters: social impacts (energy poverty, universal service obligations and vulnerable customers); employment impact (both the creation of new job opportunities and the changes to established patterns) and gradual and careful application of the acquis communautaire in the social arena with consultation as the priority. …