Donald Tusk’s nomination as the next president of the European Council is a major game changer for the EU’s energy and climate policy. And it is not a good one, writes Andrzej Ancygier.
The impact of Tusk’s nomination on one of the most important positions in the EU on the European energy and climate policy depends on three main factors: his standing in the Council, evolution of his perspectives on the renewable energy and climate policy and, last but not least, developments in Poland after he has been replaced by a less marked personality. […]
Tusk versus renewables and climate
Donald Tusk’s fierce opposition to climate policy and development of renewable sources of energy has led to Poland’s miserable progress on both. It is however not clear, to what degree this opposition has been caused by domestic factors, i.e. the pressure from the coal industry and the willingness to save Polish state-owned energy companies from the fate of their German counterparts, or whether this opposition resulted from his personal convictions. But independently from the reason, both factors will change. When in Brussels Tusk will not be held hostage to Polish coal miners demanding state support to save unprofitable coal mines. Also the close connections with the Polish energy companies will be cut.
At the same time as President of the European Council Tusk will be approached by a number of different stakeholders: not only lobby groups defending coal and nuclear energy but associations and organizations representing renewable energy sector and fighting for climate protection. This will give Tusk a chance to take a broader look at the developments in the EU and globally. Whether or not he will use this opportunity to broaden his horizons remains to be seen. […]
A black day?
Although possibly positive in some other areas, Tusk’s nomination as the next Mr. Europe is a major game changer for the European energy and climate policy. And it is not a good one. At least initially coal and nuclear lobbies in Brussels may hope for a friendlier ear to their arguments and Poland’s opposition to renewable energy and climate policy may become even more decisive after conservative Law and Justice takes over power in Poland. Stronger activity of the other governments will be needed to balance Poland’s tendency to obstruct European energy and climate targets. Otherwise the 30 August 2014 will be remembered as a dark day for the European renewable energy industry, climate protection and thus the fate of the future generations.