5th Social Forum discusses Action Plans and Energy Strategy
5th Social Forum took place in Bečiči, Montenegro on 11-12 September 2012. It was officially opened by Mr. Suad Numanovic, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, in the presence of Ms. Marie-Christine Jalabert, representing the European Commission. The main aim of the Forum was to review the progress achieved in the implementation of the national Social Action Plans (SAPs). These originate from the commitments made in the form of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2007. The discussions focused on energy poverty and affordability, including the new Energy Strategy of the Energy Community.
The Energy Community Secretariat and the European Commission pointed out to the somewhat slow and uneven progress concerning the delivery of planned SAP activities. Often the activities are too general and lack clear energy focus. Whilst the track record on transposing the EU acquis into national legislation falls positive, real progress in social dialogue, including management of change is limited. The Secretariat noted that the Contracting Parties move at different speed in this aspect. Following a suggestion by the Secretariat, the Forum invited for revision of the SAPs as to add concrete energy activities and to strengthen provisions on the follow-up and monitoring. The Forum also called for particular meetings in 2013 for deepening the social dimension, targeting inter alia the SAPs and the International Labour Organization conventions.
The Secretariat presented the Forum an approach on energy price regulation. Continuous and excessive price regulation not reflecting the real costs jeopardizes the Treaty’s main objectives such as opening of the market, security of supply and saving energy. At the same time, vulnerable customers should be defined and protected. The Forum agreed that all Contracting Parties should formulate legal definitions on vulnerable customers and initiate price deregulation for large customers while protecting vulnerable customers through national social welfare systems.
The Secretariat presented the Energy Strategy of the Energy Community recalling that the document has been finalized and submitted to the Ministerial Council with proposal for its adoption in October 2012. Further, the Forum welcomed the Secretariat’s invitation to the Participants to work together towards outlining a Social Strategy by mid 2013, which should be further developed along the envisaged activities in the Energy Community context, promoting the market and infrastructure developments.