Why Ukraine is central to Europe’s energy security
The European energy market is going through a significant transformation due to rapid geopolitical, economical and technological changes.
Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska is one of the great young leaders in Ukraine today. She is a goal-oriented, enthusiastic and intelligent member of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, where she heads the Subcommittee on Sustainable Development and Investments.
She is a champion of Ukraine’s ongoing transition from impoverished Soviet republic to prosperous democracy, despite the obstacles thrown in her – and the nation’s path, not least of which is Russia’s military invasion and dismemberment of the nation.
She is a shining star of the nation’s emerging leadership, many of them Western-educated professionals who entered politics after Ukraine’s EuroMaidan Revolution, which prompted the authoritarian, Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych to flee on Feb. 22, 2014.
I have known Ms. Katser-Buchkovska for more than two years. I met her in 2015 when the Energy Community Secretariat started working on Ukrainian energy market reform. Energy is the crucial sector to Ukraine becoming a truly independent nation. It has been the “black-hole” source of corruption, making billionaires out of oligarchs as it impoverished the rest of the nation.
In the last three years, Ukraine has made great strides in eliminating the corrupt intermediary energy traders, but still has a long way to go to create a competitive energy market based on transparency and sustainable energy sources. Conservation, energy efficiency and development of renewable energy sources are keys to shifting away from dependency on Russian energy supplies, primarily natural gas, and nuclear power.
Ukraine is a member of the Energy Community Secretariat and has a legal obligation to implement the European Union directives into national legislation according the Association Agreement.
I know Nataliya well as I actively participate in her committee`s work on systematic energy laws. She was a co-author and a strong supporter of such laws as the Law on Gas Market, the Law on Electricity Market, the Law on the Energy Regulator.
Moreover, she is delegated to the Energy Community Parliamentary Plenum established by the Ministerial Council representing Ukraine in the Energy Community Secretariat. She is a strong advocate of clean energy expansion and the decarbonization policy. In 2016, the Ukrainian Parliament ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; in 2015, lawmakers adopted legislation to support the renewables market.
Nataliya’s work is not limited to national reforms. She is a global thinker who drives attention to Ukraine internationally. For instance, she is the head of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with the Netherlands, the co-head of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with the UK. She became a leading advocate of the EU-Ukraine political and trade Association Agreement and the EU-Ukrainian Visa-Free Regime.
Nataliya has a clear and strategic vision. She knows how to represent Ukraine on the international stage. She knows how to reconstruct the energy sector in such a way that minimizes emerging threats.
She is working intensively on achieving energy security for Ukraine.
Aside from this issue, she is also making strong efforts for Ukraine to join the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence to strengthen regional energy security.