Danish climate minister and MEP in dispute about electricity exports

The Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the EU Parliament is watering down a proposal of a free electricity market. This is according to Denmark's minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate. But the country's MEP Jeppe Kofod denies the accusations.
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Germany is a problem, agree Danish Minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Christian Lilleholt (Liberal Party) and MEP Jeppe Kofod (Social Democrats).

Otherwise the air between them is thick with disagreements and recriminations of lacking climate ambitions in the ongoing negotiations that can open up for more export of green Danish electricity to Germany.

According to Lilleholt, the Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament is "watering down" future EU electricity regulations. Kofod dismisses that.

"I'm worried that the S&D group in the EU Parliament will succeed in watering down the proposal from the EU Commission," says the Danish minister.

Both Lilleholt and Kofod state their wish that green energy flows as freely as possible across the borders.

For years, Germany has blocked Danish electricity by making 10 percent of the technical capacity available. The EU Commission has proposed that Germany and other member states take 75 percent.

But under massive pressure, the EU countries have settled an agreement with Germany that does not oblige the country to guarantee 75 percent of the total capacity. In reality, the minimum capacity can be much lower.

Lilleholt now accuses the S&D group for pursuing the same goal – which lacks commitment and inhibits climate change mitigation, he says.

Morten Helveg Petersen participates in the ongoing electricity negotiations between the Commission and member states on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE).

According to him, the German chief negotiator, Martina Werner from S&D, is under massive pressure from her home country.

"She is going for making the European interconnection grid smaller while ALDE, The Greens and the right-wing ECR group want to expand it as much as possible," he says.

Lilleholt now urges Kofod to put pressure on Werner.

"I urge, especially Kofod, to be aware and ensure as free competition as possible across the nation borders," says the minister.

Kofod is vice president in the S&D and says that his German colleague has ensured that she will stick to the mandate she has been given.

"But I'm happy to check up on it once more to make sure that nothing is happening that I haven't heard of," says Kofod.

He stresses that spokespersons from other groups will protest if the S&D negotiator does not stick to her mandate. Kofod also hits back at the Danish government that, in his opinion, has not put sufficient effort into defending a more ambitious mandate.

"It is Germany in the Council of Ministers that is watering it down. So if there is a problem, the government [of Denmark, -ed.] and Lilleholt's friends in the Council of Ministers must tell the Germans that they cannot start making changes via tripartite negotiations," he says.

Last week, Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager demanded that German operator TenneT lifts the blockade of electricity on the public utility network between Denmark and Germany.

English Edit: Ida Løjmand

 EU Commission breaks German blockade of Danish electricity 

 Pressure intensifies pressure on Germany to open borders to Danish power  

 Danish MEP on EU energy market talks: "We're fighting door to door" 

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