As many of you know the Parliament has been in recess over the summer – so this the first week back in Brussels.
The week started with discussions on the EU Security of Gas Supply – a key piece of legislation I am drafting for the Socialist and Democrats. Currently, about one quarter of all energy used in the EU is natural gas and many EU countries import (nearly) all of their supplies. Most of these countries are heavily reliant on a single source or a single transport route for their gas. Disruptions along this route caused by infrastructure failure or political disputes can endanger supplies. At present, I am meeting with fellow draftees (from other political groups) to deliver a final compromise text. This is an ongoing file and I will keep you posted.
Similarly, my file on the EU strategy for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) passed through the Transport Committee with a significant majority. The EU has a major opportunity to improve its energy security and its competitiveness due to the development of the global LNG market. However, it is important that LNG does not encourage the overuse of fossil fuels and complies with our collective climate objectives. We successfully won votes on the sustainable development and use of LNG, assurances that LNG will adhere to EU climate targets and clear guidelines for LNG to abide by fuel quality directives.
As you can see, my parliamentary work will continue to focus on our most vulnerable communities and centre upon ensuring that all of our region benefits from participating in Europe – especially when it comes to energy. New data (goo.gl/BjuC3P) already suggests that energy bills are set to rise (by up to £70) as gas imports become more expensive – driven by the fall of sterling after Brexit. As the government begins to explain what Brexit will look like (something they are not doing very well), we need to ensure that our gas supply and use of LNG works for the benefit of all – not just big business. The EU files mentioned above are just two examples, of many, that will require deep thought during our renegotiation.
I know many of you (both remain and leave voters) are concerned about Brexit and what our renegotiation will look like; for that reason I am actively engaging with local government leaders, MPs, businesses, trade unions, chambers of commerce, universities and the health sector to find the best way forward through this process. Thousands of jobs in the North West depend upon getting this negotiation right; I will work to ensure that the voices and needs of the North West are heard and acted upon.
As ever, thanks for reading and you can follow my work on here or via Twitter @TheresaMEP.