IV. Inter-Parliamentary Meeting

Santiago de Compostela, Spain. 19-21 April 2002

Summary of the event

A total of over 115 participants, took part in the 4th Inter-Parliamentary Meeting: RES in the EU, organised by EUFORES, IDAE and INEGA. The event gathered 41 Members of National Parliaments (in particular those engaged in energy issues), 6 Members of the European Parliament, energy authorities, as well as representatives of EU institutions, the media and other EU actors. Ms. Vice-president, Commissioner for Transport, Energy & Rel. EP, European Commission, and Mr. Manuel Fraga President of the Regional Government of Galicia, took part in the opening sesion of the meeting and the later press conference to the media. 

The program includes debates on Renewables and EU Energy Policy and Market Development of Renewables, as well as guided site visits.

During the closing session a final statement of the meeting was proposed, discussed, and approved by the 41 attending Members of Parliament: the Santiago Statement.

RES in the EU

The European Union has started in the year 2002 a crucial phase with the monetary Union, the Euro. In the Energy sector, the new trend of the markets and the extremely necessary environmental actions, are committed challenges that all actors involved in their development must assume. Current issues such as the liberalisation of energy markets, the EU debate on the Green Paper on security of supply, the grave environmental problems generated by the energy generation and the growing fast energy consumption, the transposition of EU initiatives to the Member States, the need of demand side policies and of a EU sustainable energy strategy, the now under discussion biofuel directive are, more than ever before, raising the issue of common EU energy policy.

Within this framework, the 4th Inter-parliamentary Meeting: "Renewable Energy Sources in the EU" is proposed as a high-level dialogue between Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), national and regional Parliaments (MPs). It is crucial to increase their awareness on recent developments in energy and, more specifically, renewable energy sources (RES), yielding a better comprehension of the aims, priorities, tools and best available practices.

This event will take place on 19 – 21 April 2002, in Santiago de Compostela, under the Spanish Presidency, in a Region as Galicia, very ambitious with renewable energy plans and excellent results in RES implementation as well as its associated benefits, such as employment creation, industry networks, etc.

The importance of elected bodies

The implementation of the EU strategy requires closer co-ordination between the Member States and their acceptance of new compromises and targets according to the EU ones, thus actively contributing to the achievement of the common aims. A EU-wide strategy, however comprehensive, will not produce significant results without such a commitment by national and regional actors.

In this sense, elected bodies are normally the institutional players most sensible towards RES issues, and the ones nearer to influence both their national and regional governments as well as the citizens that have elected them as their representatives. There is ample consensus on the need of developing RES between the different political parties in the present political scene. Indeed, the European Parliament has been behind every single development in the process leading to the White Paper and the Campaign for Take-Off, as well the EU Directive on electricity from RES, the EU Directive on alternative fuels for transport and biofueles, etc. But all these new developments have now to be translated into legislative initiatives at different EU levels, materialising them in concrete parliamentary proposals, to achieve the approval of measures “for real” by the EP, national and regional Parliaments.

Therefore, a high-level dialogue between different legislative and institutional representatives, of different EU areas, will increase the awareness of policymakers, industry decision-makers and the media, yielding a better comprehension of the aims, priorities, tools and best available practices throughout the EU.

Inter-parliamentary meetings

A meeting between MEPs and Members of national and regional Parliaments EU-wide, with high-level representatives of their governments and of key industrial and service companies, can serve well to exchange points of view and deepen their awareness on recent developments in the RES field, promoting common views and thus a more homogeneous approach throughout the EU.

The first Inter-parliamentary Meeting "Renewable Energy Sources in the EU" was held in the Canary Islands on 16-18 January 1998. It was a clear success both in terms of participation and results, gathering over 40 Members of the EP and of most national (and some regional) Parliaments throughout the EU, a wide representation of high-level energy authorities, energy market actors and the media. The meeting had high media impact throughout the EU, and resulted in motions presented in several Parliaments. The participants also approved a policy statement, the Declaration of Canarias.

This second edition of the meeting was held in a place, the island of Madeira, where the need to tap the potential of the sun, wind, water, biomass, and other resources could be clearly shown, as well as the very important benefits that can be achieved for the communities where RES are implemented, with optimal climate, resources and cultural background. Portugal chairs the EU during the first semester of the year 2000.

The meeting has gathered 52 Members of the European Parliament an of national Parliaments EU-wide, as well as high-level representatives of national governments, EU institutions and media. Key personalities representing the industry, promoters and other professionals provided direct feedback on high interest issues.  A final statement of the meeting was proposed, discussed, and approved by the attending Members of Parliament: the Madeira Statement.

The last edition of the meeting was held in the island of Gotland, Sweden under the EU presidency of that Member State. The 3rd Inter-Parliamentary Meeting held in Gotland, that takes part of the 100 Communities Programme of the EC – Campaign for Take Off, also found the general consensus between all the participants consented in the final conclusions of the meeting.

Aims of this Meeting

The main aims of the meeting are:

  • To present to the Members of the European Parliament, and National and Regional Parliaments throughout the EU, the development process and options for RES-related polices;
  • To discuss the development of the EU energy policy, and the contribution of RES, with special regard to the consequences of EU energy market liberalisation and the Commission’s debate on security of supply;
  • To contribute to the debate on the consequences of the Kyoto compromises of the EU and the way forward Johannesburg 2002 and the proposal for a Directive on Alternative Fuels for Transport and Biofuel;
  • To discuss possible legislative initiatives aimed at following-up and achieving the aims of the EU Strategy’s targets and instruments, in order to allow for a true implementation of its concepts;
  • To highlight the success stories on the deployment of RES, especially the political and market measures that have been successfully put in place, and those that are still needed;
  • To discuss RES regarding other related policies (Agriculture, Environment, etc);

Declaration of Santiago de Compostela

We, the 41 Members of the European, National and Regional Parliaments, meeting in Santiago de Compostela,

  • on renewables in the framework of the liberalisation of the European energy sector,
    • call for a fair treatment of renewables in the internal market through the internalisation of external costs and the progressive reduction of subsidies to the conventional forms of electricity production.
    • ask for fair treatment for renewable energy sources regarding access to the grid and grid pricing, taking into account the benefits which decentralised renewable energy production brings to the grid.
    • welcome the proposal of the European Commission on mandatory labelling of all electricity sources, and the confirmation that this important information will be provided to consumers in a liberalised market, as noted in the first reading of the European Parliament.
    • ask all EU institutions, when discussing the Trans-European Networks (TEN) energy programme, to consider the necessity of grid integration for large scale renewables (e.g. offshore in the North Sea).
  • on renewables and energy efficiency,
    • welcome the Intelligent Energy for Europe Programme, proposed by the European Commission, and demand an increase in its budget, emphasising the role of effective dissemination to society of the benefits associated with renewables and energy efficiency, and the need to involve Public Institutions in exemplary implementation actions.
    • resolve to investigate ways in which renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts in candidate countries can be encouraged,
    • ask for an early Directive on demand side management, for a prompt proposal of the Directive on promotion of combined heat and power, and for a fast track adoption of the Directive on energy efficiency in buildings.
  • on renewables in electricity generation,
    • welcome the EU Directive on the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources and above all the targets set, not only at EU level but also at National level which give Member States the necessary flexibility to choose their support mechanisms to accomplish these targets.
    • remind the National Parliaments that this Directive has to be transposed into National legislation before October 2003 and call for rapid implementation.
    • ask the National Parliaments to transform the indicative targets proposed by the Directive into binding national targets and to push their governments to develop concrete national strategies to translate the commitments into a concrete achievement of these targets.
    • reiterate that, since these targets are indicated as a percentage of renewable electricity in the national electricity mix, such objectives could be met by a combination of curbing  the demand of electricity and by generating renewable electricity.
  • On the biofuels for transport Directive,
    • congratulate the EU Commission for proposing a Directive to stimulate the use of biofuels for transport.
    • invite the European Parliament and EU Member States to accept and support the proposal of the Commission, especially its mandatory objectives.
    • believe that biofuels provide security of supply, competitiveness and protection of the environment, the three aspects identified in the White Paper on Energy Policy, also boosting rural economies and enhancing employment  prospects.
    • acknowledge that a significant contribution to the reduction in CO2 emissions in the transport sector will also come from other policy measures such as reduction of the weight of cars, greater engine efficiency, integration of external costs in transport prices and more integrated regional and urban planning.
    • stress that the development of biofuels is a contribution to reducing the dependency on oil imports which constitute a serious threat to EU’s security of supply.
    • call on the EU institutions to consider good agricultural practice while discussing this Directive.
  • on biomass,
    • stress the importance of increasing action and support at all levels to allow for a significant development and market penetration of biomass, that will otherwise not meet its share of the EU targets for renewables for 2010.
    • call for the effective integration of biomass in the Common Agricultural Policy as well as in the Common Energy Policy.
    • ask all EU Institutions, when discussing the utilisation of biogenic fuels, to launch initiatives to stimulate the agricultural, environmental, forestry and logistics sectors to extend their capacities in biomass production, transformation and transportation, and to increase and facilitate cross-sectorial inter-dependencies, both in Public Administrations and in the Private Sector.
    • call on Member States to implement rapidly the eco-compatibility criteria agreed in the Agriculture Council of Nice.
  • commit ourselves to the following:
    • to reinforce contacts between Parliamentarians at Regional, National and European level in order to promote coordinated action in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
    • to mutually share information on all aspects linked with the promotion of renewables at European, National and Regional level, asking EUFORES to help us in this task.
    • to review progress made at the next Inter-Parliamentary Meeting, that will take place in 2003 in Greece, giving special attention to our parliamentary colleagues from Candidate Countries.
    • to attempt to build up cross party alliances at the level of European, National and Regional Parliaments, which would promote renewable energies.
    • to call on the Member States to introduce a new Chapter in the Treaties on a Common EU Energy Policy.

The participants call upon all the relevant European Union, National, Regional and Local Elected Bodies, Institutions and actors throughout the EU, to promote and develop jointly the measures contained in this Declaration, and urge the organisers to distribute this document throughout the EU, especially to the upcoming informal meeting of the Energy Council in Pamplona, in order to reach the highest number of decision-makers and achieve the greatest possible impact.

Santiago de Compostela, 20 April 2002

Organisers & Supporters



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