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Limassol, 17 December 2007

Commissioner Piebalgs launches the new Euro-Mediterranean energy partnership

Together with Ministers from the EU Member States and from the Mediterranean partner countries, European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs launched today the new Euro-Mediterranean energy partnership, at the 5th Euro-Mediterranean Energy Ministerial Conference that is taking place in Limassol, Cyprus. Ministers and the Commissioner endorsed the Ministerial Declaration and its 2008-2013 Priority Action Plan for Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the field of energy which gives a new impetus to the EU external energy policy in the region.

“We are here today to take stock of the progress achieved, and agree on the future orientations and priorities for our cooperation, taking into account latest developments in the global energy markets. Today's Euromed Energy Ministerial Conference will, with no doubt, have a decisive impact on Euro–Mediterranean cooperation in the energy field" said Mr Piebalgs.

The Action Plan focuses on three main areas:

  • Firstly, to ensure the improved harmonisation of energy markets and legislations and to pursue the integration of energy markets in the Euro-Mediterranean region;
  • Secondly, to promote sustainable development in the energy sector;
  • And thirdly, to develop initiatives of common interest in key areas, such as infrastructure extension, investment financing and research and development.

The Action Plan entails a detailed list of infrastructure projects of common interest in the region. Commissioner Piebalgs expressed his support for the "Solar for Peace" Project recently elaborated jointly by Israel and the Palestinian Authority who presented it at the Ministerial Conference. It is proposed that the Palestinian Authority and Israel establish a programme of collaboration in the area of solar energy, a free resource widely available in the area and possessing considerable environmental advantages.

For the next four-year period, the EU will devote more than 3.2 billion Euros for Euromed cooperation. A good share of this could be channelled to the priorities identified in the Action Plan. This financing will be in combination with Member States' bilateral cooperation envelopes, the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership of the European Investment Bank, as well as other instruments such as the upcoming Africa Infrastructure Partnership.

The private sector is also closely involved, as underlined last week by Commissioner Piebalgs at the "Observatoire Méditerranéen de l'Energie" General Assembly meeting in Brussels. The Commissioner called on leading energy companies operating in this region to play an active role in supporting the EU Priority Action Plan for 2008-2013 on Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the field of energy (IP/07/1886).

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