The Role of Ukraine in the European Energy Sphere

On 17 October 2018, the Office organised a conference with the Razumkov Centre at the Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI) in Brussels. The topic of the event was „The Role of Ukraine in the European Energy Sphere“, where the Razumkov Centre presented its publication „What role for Ukraine in the global energy sphere?“. The Razumkov Centre is one of the leading Ukrainian non-governmental think tanks.

Opening the conference, Olena Carbou, Director of the Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels (the Office) and moderator of the conference welcomed the participants and speakers. She introduced the Razumov Centre and the speakers to the audience. Furthermore, Ms. Carbou mentioned that we gathered at this event to discuss the overall question of Ukraine´s role in the EU energy sphere with the purpose to give insight from Ukrainian experts. She encouraged the audience to read the publication.

Carbou: „With today’s event the Office continues its work on informing the EU stakeholders and the general public on the progress of Ukraine’s developments, reforms and international progress.“

Volodymyr Omelchenko, Director of Energy Programmes at the Razumkov Centre drew the attention of the audience to the fact that Ukraine joined the Paris Climate Agreement. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of EU fundings for energy projects in Ukraine. Mr. Omelchenko was of the opinion that investments in energy distribution networks need to be stimulated. The consumer demand is very cheap, which slows down the development. The speaker pointed out that the NS2 project will not be useful for the EU. Without the Ukraine gas transport system NS2 cannot work. Every year Ukraine loses 2% of its GDP because of NS2.

Omelchenko: „NS2 is a politically motivated project.“

Leading Expert at the Razumkov Centre, Svitlana Chekunova, mentioned that Ukraine’s electric power systems should be sustainable. EU citizens should receive enough energy. EU businesses should receive open access to Ukraine’s market. Furthermore, Ms. Chekunova mentioned that the greater perspective of the energy project is an EU-Ukraine energy bridge. Ukraine has been working on the project already. The total costs have been 243 million Euros. 50 million will be used for the reconstruction of the infrastructure.

Chekunova: „Ukraine cannot lose momentum while the project is in progress.“

Torsten Woellert, Team Leader for the Energy and Environment of the Support Group for Ukraine in the European Commission, pointed out that most EU member states are energy importers. They have also started to drive policies in Ukraine. He emphasised that energy is not a free good. Mr. Woellert made the audience aware that Ukraine is in the process of becoming a normal European country. Moreover, an energy efficiency fund has been created with the EU and Ukraine. Furthermore, he mentioned that some Ukrainian cities are already part of a wider network to share information. The speaker also pointed out that we already have the choice where to buy gas today. This is the beginning of a market. We help Ukraine to implement market rules. Ukraine is a member of the energy community since 2011.

Woellert: „Energy is there to warm our homes and not to make it part of geopolitics.“

Head of Energy and Climate programme and Director of Energy Climate House at CEPS, Christian Egenhofer, started his speech with the question whether the integration of Ukraine into the European market is an economic or political project. According to the speaker, it is not always clear which goals we want to achieve and market integration is a long process. Once you are integrated into the market you get what the market gives you. Moreover, he mentioned that the prices are set by the market or regional policies. A lot of governments dislike the fact that they lose autonomy over the market price.

Egenhofer: „An energy efficiency policy should be free from corruption.“