Jude Kirton-Darling, Member of the European Parliament for North-East England, today helped to launch a new cross-party manifesto calling for the creation of a North Sea energy grid, which could have significant long-term benefits for the North-East.
The manifesto, entitled 'Northern Seas as the Power House for North-West Europe', illustrates the potential areas for co-operation between EU Member States bordering the North Sea, including renewable energy and interconnectors.
Created as part of a collaboration by 20 MEPs from 10 countries and 5 political groups, the manifesto was presented to Mr Henk Kamp, the Minister of Economic Affairs from the Netherlands, to coincide with the start of the Dutch presidency of European Council.
Speaking from Brussels, Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said: "The North-Sea offers a huge amount of potential for the North East of England and today is a really positive day for our region."
"By developing large-scale renewable sources of energy, such as offshore wind, and by creating an integrated and interconnected electricity grid, we are showing the value of EU cooperation for people across the North East. We will be able to simultaneously maintain jobs in our battered offshore supply chain and create thousands of new high quality jobs, reduce our carbon emissions and secure our long term energy needs. A North Sea grid will demand the new cables and marine infrastructure in which our industries excel, and potentially provide a future for workers hit hard by the collapse in the oil price. The electricity interconnector currently being built between Norway and Blyth could be just the beginning for us."
"In doing so, we will also significantly reduce the energy bills of UK citizens and businesses."
"In the past the North-East was famed in the UK, and beyond, for the coal it produced. Today, we want to put the North-East on the path to supplying the green energy for tomorrow. This manifesto is the one of the first steps in that process."
Energy ministers from around the North Sea will meet in the Netherlands on the 4 February and MEPs are pressing that their 7-point manifesto will inspire a concrete action plan for stepping up cooperation between the countries. Jude Kirton-Darling will join the other MEPs in making the case in The Hague in February.