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Brussels, 8 October 2009

Commission goes step further in developing renewable energy with Mediterranean and Gulf countries

On 9 October, the European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner in will host in Brussels a Ministerial level conference on renewable energy cooperation between the EU, the Mediterranean and the Gulf countries, in co operation with the Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs. The conference aims to forge increased political support for closer cooperation in this field, and help to find concrete solutions to the challenges ahead. Ministers and high-level representatives of Albania, Bahrain, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Italy, Iraq, Jordan, Montenegro, Oman, the Palestinian National Authority, Spain, Syria, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates as well as the League of Arab States, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Union du Maghreb Arabe will address the conference. Representatives from industry, research institutes and international financial institutions will also participate, providing a unique opportunity to explore the scope for future cooperation on renewable energy.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner underlined that: "Renewable energy cannot provide all the answers to our climate change and energy security challenges – but it will be an indispensable element in any successful strategy. Therefore, we need a renewable energy partnership with the countries of the Mediterranean and the Gulf regions. These partners have enormous potential to produce renewables, while the EU has a lot of technological knowhow and expertise to contribute. I hope this conference will take us a step closer to realizing a fully-fledged green energy market, and help us to explore together the potential for joint efforts to launch new technologies, particularly in the field of solar power. "

Commissioner Piebalgs said: "The vast solar energy potential in north-Africa and the European know-how in the field of renewable technologies opens a window of opportunity for enhanced cooperation in the Mediterranean area. With the climate change conference in Copenhagen just a few weeks away, we should not lose the opportunity to develop an industrial sector that can create jobs and growth across the region."

The conference will provide a platform for presenting EU initiatives in renewable energy, including the Renewable Energy Directive and the growing potential for renewable energy exports to the EU. It will foster understanding among partners of the potential contribution of the EU and the Commission to the development of the renewable energy potential in the Mediterranean and Gulf regions, building on experience in the EU of promoting, developing and deploying renewable energy sources.

In four sessions, the conference will address:

  • the role of energy in the EU’s relations with the partners from the Mediterranean and the Gulf regions;

  • the development of a regional “green energy” market, including the policy, legislative and regulatory issues;

  • the research & technology aspects of renewable energy and the opportunities for cooperation between the stakeholders from the EU, the Mediterranean and Gulf regions;

  • and the possible joint initiatives and projects to support the development of renewable energies and in particular solar energy.

The EU has set itself targets of 20% renewable energy in its overall energy consumption. While the EU will continue to maximise its own renewable production, trade with third countries in renewables could help to achieve the ambitious objective the EU has set.

For further information on the conference:

For further information on EU external energy policy:

For further information on EU renewable energy policy:

For further information on EU’s energy technology and innovation initiatives:

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