A joint statement issued following the sixth EU-US Energy Council meeting in Brussels reiterated the resolve of the EU and the US to stand shoulder to shoulder in support of the Ukraine’s new government and reaffirmed that energy should not be used as a political tool. The meeting, chaired by the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, European Commission VP Maros Sefcovic, European Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, and US Secretary of State John Kerry, also focused on the need to tackle the threat of global climate change and enhance Europe’s energy security.
The EU-US Energy Council welcomed the trilateral gas accord of 30 October 2014 while stressing that ‘the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Ukraine must be respected.’ The Council also discussed ways in which the US could provide assistance to strengthen energy security in EU candidate countries and Eastern Partnership countries. It ‘welcomed the prospect of US LNG exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Europe and other strategic partners.’
With respect to the threat from climate change, the Council stressed that coordinated action by the EU, the US and all major and emerging economies will be essential to tackling what remains the defining global challenge of our generation.
Highlights from the Joint Statement from the EU-US Energy Council
The Council reiterated the resolve of the EU and the US to stand shoulder to shoulder in their support for Ukraine’s new government, and underlined the necessity of continuing the reforms in Ukraine’s energy sector in line with its Energy Community commitments to integrate progressively the Ukrainian energy market with that of the EU, while highlighting the need to protect vulnerable segments of the population. The Council welcomed the plan established by the Ukrainian government with active US support regarding contingency measures in the energy field for the coming winter, and underlined the importance of ensuring continued close cooperation as the plan is implemented to ensure optimal use of assistance by the US, the EU and its member states. The Council also acknowledged US and EU medium and long term efforts to improve Ukraine’s energy security, including support for reform of Ukraine’s energy sector and for enhancing the legal and policy framework and technical capacity for increased domestic production. Increased energy efficiency and the expansion of renewable energies also play a crucial role in enhancing Ukraine’s energy security. The Council also welcomed efforts undertaken in financing energy efficiency investments within the Eastern European Environment and Energy Efficiency Partnership (E5P).
The Council reaffirmed that energy should not be used as a political tool. It welcomed the recommendations made by the European Commission in the EU’s Energy Security Strategy to increase energy efficiency, strengthen domestic production, diversify supplies, complete the internal energy market, maintain a unified voice in external energy policy, bolster emergency and solidarity mechanisms while protecting critical infrastructure. The Council discussed ways in which the US could provide assistance to strengthen energy security in EU candidate countries and Eastern Partnership countries.
The Council recognised that energy security is underpinned by open, competitive and transparent international energy markets and through supportive policies that promote the sustainability of energy production and consumption, in particular the development and deployment of renewable and low carbon energies and energy efficiency. The Council welcomed the prospect of US LNG exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Europe and other strategic partners.
The Council welcomed the goal of the European Council to build an EU aiming at affordable, secure and sustainable energy, and supports the work underway to achieve a fully functioning and interconnected internal EU energy market, as laid out in the conclusions of the European Council of 23 October.
The Council welcomed recent infrastructure developments including the inauguration of the Klaipeda LNG terminal in Lithuania, the ground breaking ceremony of the Southern Gas Corridor last September, and the inauguration of the reverse flow interconnection between Ukraine and Slovakia, to complement the existing reverse flow interconnections between Ukraine and Hungary and Poland.
The Council discussed the current state of global energy markets. The Council agreed on the importance of countries phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. The Council will continue to support ongoing efforts towards rules based and inclusive energy markets.
Energy policy and energy research and technology
The Council emphasised the importance of intensifying and streamlining cooperation in this area, including but not limited to the areas of renewable sources of energy, critical materials, energy efficiency, nuclear fusion, hydrogen and fuel cells, smart grids and storage, CCS, unconventional resources, ocean energy and systems integration.
The Council will explore further opportunities for energy research collaboration, potentially to include new exchange opportunities for academics and other researchers and business community engagement.
Climate and energy
Coordinated action by the EU, the US and all major and emerging economies will be essential to tackling the threat of global climate change, which remains the defining challenge of our generation. The Council reaffirmed the strong determination of the US and the EU to work towards the adoption at the UN Climate Conference in Paris in 2015 of an ambitious protocol, legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force, under the Convention and applicable to all parties, which would strengthen the multilateral, rules based regime. This agreement must be sufficiently ambitious, robust and dynamic in light of the goal to limit global temperature increase to below 2°C. The latest findings of the IPCC serve to emphasis the importance of urgent and effective action. The EU and the US are committed to taking the lead in the fight against climate change and note the increasing evidence that action on climate change can be combined with improved economic performance and have positive cobenefits in areas such as health and energy security. The EU and the US also intend to continue their strong efforts to reduce emissions of short lived climate pollutants.
The Council welcomed the decision of the EU and the US to submit their intended nationally determined mitigation contributions in the first quarter of 2015. All major economies must demonstrate similar leadership and submit their intended contributions by the same time in a manner that is transparent, quantifiable and comparable.
The Council welcomed the 23 October European Council decision to reduce the EU’s aggregate domestic GHG emission by at least 40% below the 1990 base year by 2030. The Council further welcomed the binding target to achieve at least a 27% share of renewable energy in the EU’s total energy mix, and the indicative target to reduce total energy consumption by at least 27% compared to projections by using it more efficiently. The Council welcomed the announcement by the US of its intention to reduce emissions to 26 – 28% below 2005 levels in 2025. The Council also welcomed the US$3 billion pledge of the US, the EU Member States’ current aggregate pledge of at least US$4.6 billion towards the initial capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund, as well as their respective provisions of climate finance to developing countries. The Council encouraged other parties who have not yet done so to pledge commensurate amounts.
Edited from press releases by Claira Lloyd
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