In Cyprus, Conservatives Reiterate ‘Kilkenny Principles’ and Point to Way Ahead on Transition

Energy - April 2, 2024

At a high-level, ECR Conference just ended in Cyprus, Conservatives appraised the European Commission’s green policies and pointed to several gaps and limitations in that approach. In doing so, speakers also confirmed the thrust of the Kilkenny Principles that had emerged from the previous Conference in Ireland last November.

Only few months after the Kilkenny’s conference, it has become overwhelmingly evident the narrow approach pursued by the European Commission on the ecological transition. To start with, that approach is centered around the reduction of carbon emissions without considering the broader competitive and sustainability implications associated with the policy mix chosen to achieve such a reduction, speakers invariably noted.

Indeed, achieving a reduction in carbon emissions is of little relevance if the proposed policy path does not ensure social and economic sustainability of the measures implemented. In other words, there may be instances in which alternative sources of energy cannot be afforded by European businesses and households because they are not available or, more simply, too expensive. Accordingly, those critical aspects should be thoroughly assessed, and countervailing measures explored and offered.

Alternatively, if the transition policies were implemented regardless, as it has been the case so far, Europe would be bound to loose competitiveness in favor of those economies that do not abide to those same standards. As a result, Europeans would inevitably experience self-inflicted falling living standards.

Moreover, transition policies have been implemented without duly considering their costs to the environment, not just to businesses and households. This is the case of the extraction and subsequent processing of critical raw materials that have far-ranging environmental consequences. Such implications have not been transparently shared with the public opinion because most likely Europeans would have reacted adversely. As a matter of fact, European clean air also comes to the expense of populations in developing countries who bear the consequences of the environmental degradation of their soil and air – populations who often live under authoritarian regimes.

Against this background, European Conservatives propose a transition agenda centered on pragmatism and subsidiarity, while duly protecting our Planet. Pragmatism means that transition policies must be attentive to the specifics of our territories and be informed by available technology. While renewables account for an increasing share of energy supply, they are still far away from providing a large and stable source of energy. This is due to current limitations in producing energy from renewable sources and in stocking it for future use.

Geographical differences also account for a varying ability of EU States in generating renewable energy. As a result, energy produced from gas and nuclear should be more widely explored. On all those issues, speakers concurred, the EU should not confine herself to a narrow ideological approach, but rather seize the opportunity to leverage on the transition to build a new paradigm for future prosperity.

What is at stake is by far too important for our future. The European public opinion has already taken note of that.