European Energy Sector: FECER’s position is a pragmatic approach for the next decades
FECER (Fédération Européenne des Cadres de I’Energie et de la Recherche)
The Europen Federation of Executives in the Sectors of Energy and Research
FECER (Fédération Européenne des Cadres de I’Energie et de la Recherche) was founded in 1992 and is a member of the CEC (Conféderation Européenne des Cadres). The purpose of the FECER is to discuss, formulate and represent the common interests (in social matters, energy political matters etc.) of managers from the European energy sectors. Important in this sense is that all energy sources are covered and that the members of the FECER already come from a large number of European Union countries plus Norway. Obviously, a coverage of all countries within the EU, perhaps even beyond that, would be ideal and in the long run, this is what is aimed for.
The membership from all energy sectors is unique and particularly helpful for the political acceptance of FECER’s work. While many associations and federations exist, which represent the interests of one single type of energy, in the political discussion it is much more useful to have a position which is one step ahead.
To find a position, which is based on a consensus not only between different energies, but also between different countries (in which basic conditions such as availability of domestic energy sources or public acceptance of certain energy sources can be very different) is part of the objective of FECER’s work. To make the results of this work known to the public and to political decisionmakers, particularly at levels such as the European Commission, is another objective of the FECER.
The individual people working for the FECER are executives and managers from the energy sectors, while national membership to the FECER is via the executives’/management federations, which also have to pay the small membership fee. In this way, on the one hand the FECER has access to a high level of competence. On the other hand, this does not mean that the interests of the FECER have to be different from those of the energy sectors’ workers and employees outside management, often represented by trade unions. On the contrary, the interests often are the same e.g. concerning energy political matters affecting the long term prospects for a continued existence of individual energy industries (nuclear, coal etc), having the same consequences for jobs inside and outside management.
But interests and problems also can be very different between management and non-management. Examples are pension schemes, legal responsibility and liability, questions of co-determination (worker-participation), and other social matters. Here, a body representing exclusively the particular interests of the managers is indispensable.
So far, the FECER has a membership of federations from eight countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom). In addition, federations from several other countries, including Eastern European countries, have also expressed interest.
Practical work has been carried out during a large number of meetings, which took place in most of the above countries, while specific work also is done by individual working groups. An example is the working group on European energy policy, where the question is dealt with, what the common interests are and how energy political guidelines could look like. A position paper with the title “Guidelines for a balanced energy supply in the European Union” was approved at the FECER meeting in March 1996. At later meetings, position papers on each individual energy source, on topics such as liberalisation of energy markets, on various initiatives of the European Commission and on several social issues have been published.
The FECER has not confined itself to contacts with the European Commission. Actually, contacts to a much wider audience have been established or are planned to be established. With its positional papers and press statements, the FECER has already found international recognition, nevertheless, work is being intensified at the moment to make the FECER better known. As a result, positive reactions concerning the work of the FECER have been received by high ranking officials of the European Commission. Contacts are also being intensified between the FECER and members of the European Parliament.
FECER also represents the energy expertise within the CEC (Confédération Européenne des Cadres), which is the European top federation of executives/managers, accepted as social partner by the European Commission. That acceptance has led, for example, to the opportunity for the FECER to present its views on European energy policy to the Economic and Social Committee of the EU.
One further example of FECER’s work to be mentioned is the positional paper “Future challenges for European energy supply: Positions of the FECER”, which was published in February 2007 and can be found on FECER’s website.