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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article17 March 2016Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

EU to boost its focus on energy cooperation with partner countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood and Central Asia

At a high-level conference on energy cooperation with the partner countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood and Central Asia, the European Commission confirmed the energy remains a priority of the European Union's future relations with these partners...

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At a high-level conference on energy cooperation with the partner countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood and Central Asia, the European Commission confirmed the energy remains a priority of the European Union's future relations with these partners. EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, who hosted the conference, remarked: ''In the recent review of Neighbourhood Policy we have made stabilisation the key goal for the next few years. Energy is key to stabilisation and fundamental to economic development and the quality of the daily life of citizens.''

In the concluding remarks, Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice President of the Energy Union outlined the new regional energy cooperation programme between European Union, Neighbourhood and Central Asia expected to start in May 2016 and run for four years: ''The Energy Union leverages on the impressive results of 20 years of energy cooperation with the EU's neighbours. Our vision for the future is to take this mutually-beneficial cooperation to the next phase, promoting energy security and sustainability in line with the Energy Union Strategy and the Paris Agreement.''

The conference brought together 200 participants including representatives of governments, international financial institutions, think tanks, the private sector and academia, to debate the energy challenges ahead and agree on the way forward. They highlighted that a regional approach to future energy cooperation should continue, as well as the transfer of know-how and best practices, as it was done in the framework of the EU funded INOGATE Programme.

In line with key strategic directions outlined in the November 2015 European Commission’s Communication on “Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy”, the new regional energy cooperation programme will continue to work with all 11 partner countries, but it will also take into account their different aspirations while enhancing ownership. The European Commission has allocated €20 million between 2016 and 2020; the new programme will be implemented mainly through international bodies such as International Energy Agency, Energy Community Secretariat and Energy Charter.

BACKGROUND

INOGATE is an EU-funded programme promoting international energy cooperation between the European Union and the Partner Countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. It works to support the EU policy frameworks of the Baku Initiative, the Eastern Partnership –Energy Security Platform, the Energy Community and the Central Asia Development Cooperation.

INOGATE works in four key areas: convergence of energy markets on the basis of the EU principles, enhancing energy security, supporting sustainable energy development, and attracting investment towards energy projects of common and regional interest.

Started in 1996, INOGATE has been the longest running energy cooperation programme of the European Commission and one of the main Development and Cooperation instruments used to deliver on the goals set under the Baku Initiative (2004) and the Astana Energy Roadmap (2006). Over the years, INOGATE has implemented over 70 projects, allocated over EUR 150 million in funding. The conference marks the official close of the INOGATE Programme after 20 years in operation.

The new regional energy cooperation programme between European Union, Neighbourhood and Central Asia will focus on evidence-based energy policies, based on improved use of statistics and sharing of best practice and EU experience. The budget is 20 million EUR for the time period 2016-2020. Implementation of the Programme is foreseen to be done by the International Energy Agency, Energy Community Secretariat and Energy Charter, as well as a private Consortium.

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