Minister offers socio-democratic rundown, on energy, at party event

Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis, a member of the coalition’s junior partner, PASOK, provided a rundown of key socio-democratic, progressive principles for the energy sector, commenting on their implementation within a Greek context, during a speech delivered this week at an event co-organized by the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME) – a think-tank affiliated with the PASOK party – and an SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) institution.

Entitled “Progressive Policy in the Energy Sector – An Opportunity for Social Democracy”, the event included speeches from Ralf Bartels, an energy-sector workers’ union representative – he filled in for SPD general secretary Yasmin Fahimi, who was unable to attend – and Alfred Geissler, CEO of German energy company STEAG.

Maniatis’s list of progressive principles for the energy market included growth sustainability; European solidarity through the creation of crisis mechanisms; benefits for local communities and reduction of regional inequalities; interconnection of islands; low-priced energy for business and households; self-production, and transparency to help combat bureaucracy.

“The question that preoccupies us all is whether progressive policy in the energy sector exists,” Maniatis remarked.

Greece’s Energy Minister also spoke of a global situation in which two crises were concurrently developing. “We are in the middle of two crises, the global financial crisis of capitalism, and the global environmental crisis,” Maniatis said, adding these developments had combined to cause food crises in numerous countries around the world. Progressive political thinking needed to adapt to the new environment and find solutions, Maniatis highlighted.

As for the energy sector amid this troubled context, Maniatis remarked that “adequate and affordable energy, produced in such a way that does not downgrade the environment, and which is sustainable, stands as the objective.”

Besides Maniatis, a host of other PASOK party officials took part at the event.