The European Union is the world’s largest importer of energy (oil and gas). It is the second largest energy consumer. It is surrounded by the world’s most important reserves of oil and natural gas.
The EU is projected to increase this dependence on imports. The current level of 50 percent will jump to 70 percent by 2030. Since ENP countries play a vital role in the security of the European Union’s energy supply, improving energy network connections between the EU and its partners is a strong mutual interest. Increased energy cooperation provides mutual business opportunities and can also contribute to socioeconomic development and improvement to environmental regulations. This includes security of energy supply and energy safety. Specifically, the Commission works with ENP partners to improve energy efficiency, to examine the scope for developing a green energy market and to expand their capacity to produce solar, wind and sustainable biomass energy sources.
Ensuring secure and sustainable energy supplies requires additional investment in Russia, the Western NIS and the Mediterranean region. At the same time, economic diversification is urgently needed, not only in relatively countries with few natural resources (such as Ukraine, Moldova and Morocco) but also in energy-rich countries (such as Algeria and Russia).
The ENP action plans build on existing bilateral and regional initiatives:
- Baku Initiative - aims to enhance energy cooperation between the European Union and countries of the Black Sea, the Caspian Basin and their neighbours,
- TACIS funded Inogate programme dealing with the Caspian basin;
- energy co-operation in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership;
- enhanced energy co-operation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority;
- increased gas cooperation in the Mashrek region;
- South East Europe Regional Energy Market initiative;
- EU-Russia Energy Dialogue;