For the Vice-President in charge of Energy and Transport, the latest surge in oil prices have once again underlined the importance of developing a proactive and concerted European policy on the security of energy supplies. In particular, Loyola de Palacio considers that the "Strengthening of the EU's energy partnerships with the main surrounding suppliers and the European system of security stocks are both indispensable parts of such an approach".
The Vice-President of the Commission, Loyola de Palacio considers that the main priorities of a European oil security policy are as follows.
First of all, as the Commission has already indicated in its Green Paper on the security of energy supply that was published in 2000, it is necessary to reinforce the dialogue between producer countries and consumer countries in order to ensure greater oil price stability. In addition to issues related to the balance between physical supply and demand, this dialogue with the producers must also address the efficiency of the oil markets: all these elements must be part of the discussions with the producer countries with the objective of finding ways of ensuring prices are more stable. In addition, as is already the case in particular with the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue since 2000, the dialogue with the producer countries must also aim at creating a more attractive investment framework for the production of hydrocarbons as well as for the infrastructure bringing these hydrocarbons to the EU.
In this context and, more particularly, in the framework of deepening the EU's dialogue with the major suppliers which surround it, the Commission will develop an energy market and prices observation system within its services. The objective is to ensure greater transparency and more predictability in the supply of energy to the EU in order to better identify and anticipate the dangers that may threaten the stability of these supplies, and in order to facilitate the realisation of investments and the development of appropriate infrastructures.
Finally, the situation today where the level of spare oil production capacity is at a minimum clearly highlights again for Loyola de Palacio the vulnerability of the EU?s oil supply. In this respect, she recalls the proposals presented by the Commission in September 2002 designed to reinforce the European system of security stocks and crisis measures. She indicates that this question must be addressed again in order to give the EU the means to react coherently and credibly in the event of a supply crisis.