Some things are too important not to discuss

Last week was a busy week here at FH Brussels. Aside from the normal hive of activity of any normal week, we held a couple of events of our own to add to the activities undertaken on behalf of others. In case you missed it our annual cocktail saw several hundred friends of the firm join us for cocktails to celebrate the onset of summer. Photos can be found here to see what you missed.

On a somewhat more pensive note we discussed the results of our own survey of business leaders on energy, climate and competitiveness with a range of guests the following lunchtime. A panel consisting of Torsten Wöllert of the European Commission’s DG Energy, Thierry Deschuyteneer of GasNaturally and Fluxys and William Garcia of CEFIC reacted to the presentation of the results of the specially commissioned survey by Dan Baxter, Senior Partner at FH and leader of our Global Manufacturing and Industrials sector group. The fact that energy is an important factor in business decisions and that Europe faces a challenge in finding the right balance both in its energy sources and its policy mix surprised no-one. Nor perhaps did the general Brussels consensus that we should be on a path towards a low carbon economy. The debate was of course about how to get there and whether in the process of getting there we may end up with a no-economy as well as a low carbon one.

CEFIC’s representative came with a handy new brochure of their own on the subject. While other speakers offered different views on what is needed in terms of policy tools, from a strong signal to the market (as ever vague about what this actually means for the ETS) and a single EU wide target (presumably CO2 only) to binding measures for specific sectors (buildings featured prominently again). As ever the debate ran on past lunch and it was encouraging to see folks continue their conversations after we called a halt to proceedings. No doubt such conversations will continue in coming months around town in the context of the 2030 framework debate.

As one participant remarked, the 2030 framework on energy, climate and competitiveness is too important to do quickly and too easy to get wrong. Let’s hope the debate, which our event contributed to as part of EU Sustainable Energy Week, leads to the right outcome for Europeans.