Illy’s Meeting with Barroso on the Work Programme 2008
Brussels (B), 17 December 2007
The President of the AER/Assembly of European Regions and Friuli Venezia Giulia, Riccardo Illy, and the President of European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, met today in Berlaymont Palace, Bruxelles, for an “informal political exchange” (as defined in the community rooms). The main issues have been: the EU Law Making and the Work Programme for 2008, as well as the perspectives of the Lisbon Treaty, signed on 13 December in the Portuguese capital.
To the meeting have participated the President of the Committee of the Regions, Michel Delebarre, the President of Maritime Peripheral Regions, Claudio Martini (President of Tuscany region-I), and the President of the European Border Regions, Lambert van Nistelroij from the Netherlands.
According to President Illy the meeting has been very productive, in the sense that positions from different European regions’ organizations have been confronted with those of President Barroso and European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner.
“The main themes that have been discussed are the Lisbon treaty, energy, climate change and cohesion policy” President Illy stated at the end of the meeting with Barroso.
President Illy also added: “Regions have presented their positions, which have been taken into account by the President of the European Commission. Barroso has spoken about a ‘natural complicity’ that must coexist between Regions and the European Union”.
President Illy has recalled to Barroso that not only the issue of the European Union born out of Lisbon treaty has to be deeply investigated, but also that some countries are still waiting for developments in the enlargement process is a thing to be kept in mind: first Croatia, he remarked, but also other countries as Serbia (including Kosovo) are waiting for a definitive solution coming from the European Union, “even to avoid any risk in terms of civil wars to explode”.
“I believe EU must take care about Kosovo problem, first of all – Illy concluded – without any waiting for the United States to indicate solutions”.
The Bruxelles meeting has been also followed by representatives of Council of Municipalities and Regions of Europe, by the Conference of presidents of European Parliaments with lawmaking powers and by Regleg/ EU Regions able to make laws.
Illy must soon make important Decisions
In the course of today’s meeting with the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, President of the AER and Friuli Venezia Giulia, Riccardo Illy, has centered his speech in particular on energy themes, also one of the main points in the newly signed Lisbon treaty, which foresees the introduction of a common policy on energy and on climate change struggle.
Barroso took note, Illy observed at the end of the meeting, about the compelling necessity on EU side to “choose” the ideal energy source: the solar one, together with the photovoltaic, which allows heat production, though on the other hand it has stocking problems.
“An interesting hypothesis to develop, on technical basis already well known by scientists”, said President Illy, “may be a large diffusion of photovoltaic panels in puvblic and private buildings, and subsequent distribution by existent urban electrical and natural gas grid.”
The energy produced by photovoltaic panels would be indeed used during the day for domestic and industrial use, through the existent electrical grid; the residual portion would be converted (through an electrolysis process) in gasiform hydrogen in the urban gas grid, to be prelevated during the night.
Gaseous hydrogen, thanks to combustion cells, would be so retransformed for electricity and heat production during the night hours.
President Illy also wanted to evoke another important problem regarding not only the European Union but also the whole world: the constantly increasing food price.
The lack of oil and its increasing price will produce a parallel increment of food price. “We can expect – Illy declared – an increment in food price absolutely proportional to that of oil.”
Foods as grain, mais, soy, and those today as well used for energy and heat production: bioethanol and biodiesel.
It is more and more convenient to encourage alternative energy production of any type (solar, eolic, etc.), to reduce oil demand and consequently its final price: public incentives for the production of energy from renewable sources are indeed useful to avoid any increase in the price of food.
Eventually, the President of the AER has remarked the theme of state taxes on fuels, those that today are “working backwards” in respect of the function for which they originally were introduced.
State taxes were born to “artificially” raise energy costs, inhibiting that way its excessive use. Today, in front of increments of even 5 or 6 times that took course in recent years, oil price (considering state taxes stayed more or less the same) has only doubled.
On one side, therefore, consumers have not an exact perception of the huge amount of energy cost, on the other side they relatively feel the need for saving, either on trasports as well as heating, President Illy concluded.
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