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Šefčovič Launches Energy Union Tour
The first visit is planned on May 20, in The Netherlands

Vice-President Šefčovič, at the request of Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, launches today an Energy Union Tour to engage in an intensive dialogue with governments, national parliaments and the European Parliament, as well as relevant stakeholders, including social partners, representatives of the business community and NGOs. In the weeks and months ahead, he will visit Member States to present the opportunities that the Energy Union will bring to European citizens and businesses, a press release of the EC announced today.

At the same time, the Energy Union Tour will be a good occasion to discuss the challenges that have to be addressed to implement the Energy Union Strategy, to get more information about the specific situation of each Member State and to give visibility to existing good practices all around Europe, from innovative companies that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to local mayors who smarten their cities. The first visit is planned on May 20, in The Netherlands.

Since its presentation in February, the Energy Union Strategy received broad support in the Europea Parliament, from a wide range of stakeholders, and from the European Council, which endorsed the Commission's Strategy as the basis to build the Energy Union.

Vice-President Šefčovič: "We now have a common understanding of the direction in which to go. Our common objectives are clear: we have to get out of our energy dependency; establish a fully integrated and competitive European energy market; give the principle of 'energy efficiency first' a central role in our policies; decarbonize our economy and society, and play an active role to turn the upcoming Climate Conference in Paris into a success; and better focus our research efforts to maintain technological leadership and become the world's number one in renewables. I will use the Tour to show to Member States that the Energy Union will bring real and tangible benefits for all of us if we follow a European, cross-border approach. But I will also explain that we are not there yet and that there are still important bottlenecks that have to be overcome, several of which are country-specific".

The upcoming Energy Union Tour will feed into the first State of the Energy Union report, which the Commission will present to the European Parliament and Council in the autumn of this year. It will become an important instrument to monitor progress at the European, regional and national level.

In parallel with the Energy Union Tour, the Commission will take work forward by presenting concrete new initiatives. In February, Commissioner Arias Cañete presented the first two initiatives, on the Road to Paris and on electricity interconnections. Before the summer, the Commission will present some further initiatives, as part of a "summer package", notably on electricity market design, the retail market, energy labelling and the review of the Emissions Trading System.

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