Lack of Political Will a Major Hurdle for Energy Interconnectors
Experts expect interconnectors to play a central role in increasing security of supply, leading to cheaper prices and possibly to border reference prices. Nonetheless, the integration of the market remains a question mark when it comes down to politics.
The advantages and opportunities were said to be evident, but experts agreed on the fact that the lack of political will across Europe remains the main stumbling block for those projects, which should be cheaper and easier to build than the alternative instruments to increase security of supply like Nabucco and South Stream.
On Monday, European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger restated the importance of these projects. According to data released by the European Commission, a completed internal energy market could bring net economic benefits between 16 and 40 billion euros each year.
“If energy markets are well connected and common rules are in place there's not much room left to use energy supplies as a political instrument. With proper price signals and sufficient infrastructure, energy is produced where it's cheapest and sent to where it is needed. All this translates into secure energy supplies all over Europe and lower bills for consumers,” Oettinger said in Brussels.
Financial instruments to support these projects: enhances loans, project bonds and equity instruments offered and managed by financing institutions like EIB could help in the process.
On the other hand, ICIS’ analysts said that the lack of a shared vision remains a significant hurdle. They also referred to the political situation in Romania and Bulgaria.
Indeed, uncertainties in the two Eastern countries continue.
“My personal opinion is that we went too far in encouraging smaller parties in our to desire to stimulate the emergence of new political entities. We achieved this effect, which has as a side effect - the fragmentation of parliament,” Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki said on Monday as reported by the website of the national Council of Ministers.
In this sense, it comes as no surprise that experts see uncertainties related to the political situation in Eastern Europe. Romania is indeed in a similar situation. It is unlikely that interconnectors are going to be the priority of Sofia and Bucarest any time soon.
“Certainly, I understand that last night, Mr. President Basescu continued his attacks not only against mine, against all candidates. I want to say one thing: after 10 years in which I have heard lies, and garbage , and I have seen how Mr. Basescu used state institutions for his personal interests, now, today, there are 33 days left of this tragedy for Romania, which lasted nine years and 11 months,” Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Tuesday.