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Speaking with one voice – EU targets strategic approach in external energy relations

The European Commission has adopted a Communication on security of energy supply and international cooperation, setting out for the first time a comprehensive strategy for the EU's external relations in energy, which, in the words of Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, proposes “a coherent approach in the energy relations with third countries”.
 
In line with the Energy 2020 strategy, the strategy outlined today proposes to enhance the external dimension of EU energy policy through improving transparency among EU Member States on their energy agreements with third countries, strengthening coordination when approaching partner countries, when taking position in international organisations, and when developing comprehensive energy partnerships with key partner countries.
 
The strategy lists 43 concrete actions, which include notably:
  • Member States have to share among each other information about international agreements with third countries in the field of energy. This includes agreements that are still under negotiation. On a case-by-case basis, the Commission may provide an opinion on the conformity of these agreements with EU law and with the EU security of supply objectives.
  • Energy agreements with third countries could also be negotiated at EU level where necessary to achieve the EU core objectives. This is the case for an agreement with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on a Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, where a specific mandate from the Council has been requested.
  • The EU will propose a new partnership on renewable energy projects with the Southern Mediterranean countries.
  • The EU will advocate for international legally binding nuclear safety standards in multilateral discussions, including under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and will aim to extend nuclear safety assessments to EU neighbouring countries.
Presenting the Communication, Commissioner Oettinger said: EU energy policy has made real progress over the last several years. Now, the EU must extend the achievements of its large internal energy market beyond its borders to ensure the security of energy supplies to Europe and foster international energy partnerships.”
 
According to a press release, the share of imported energy in the EU – currently 80% for oil and over 60% for gas – continues to rise. National decisions and agreements with third countries have a significant impact on the development of energy infrastructure and energy supply to the EU as a whole. EU interests need to be better promoted in relations with both transit countries and energy producing countries. At the same time, new patterns of supply and demand in global energy markets and growing competition for resources also make it necessary to exercise the combined weight of the EU in external energy relations. (ENPI Info Centre)
 
Read more
 
Press release
 
Watch the press conference
 
Key documents and further information on Commission proposal
 
Communication on security of energy supply and international cooperation - "The EU Energy Policy: Engaging with Partners beyond Our Borders"
 
Citizens' summary
 
European Commission – DG Energy
 
ENPI Info Centre energy page – East
 
ENPI Info Centre energy page – South
 

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