The treaties prior to the Lisbon Treaty did not provide a specific legal basis for Community energy policy. It was based on the Euratom Treaty and a number of provisions contained in the chapters on the “Internal Market” and the “Environment”.
Article 4 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) now lays down sharing of competence between Member States and the European Union in this field.
The policy of the Union shall (Article 194 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – TFEU):
- ensure the functioning of the energy market;
- ensure security of energy supply in the Union;
- promote energy efficiency and energy saving and the development of new and renewable forms of energy;
- promote the interconnection of energy networks.
European energy policy measures shall be adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure. They shall respect the right of each Member State to develop their own energy policy.
This new competence of the Union will continue, in a more effective way, a process initiated in 2006 with the presentation of a Green Paper on A European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy. This Green Paper led to the adoption of a comprehensive Energy Action Plan for the period 2007-2009 of which the three main areas are:
- the promotion of energy security;
- the maintaining of firms’ competitiveness by giving them access to affordable energy;
- the fight against climate change.
Several programmes have been launched with a view to implementing these objectives including the Intelligent Energy - Europe programme, which comes under the framework programme for innovation and competitiveness (2007-2013). It provides Community funding to help achieve the Union's objectives in the field of sustainable energy.