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Benita Ferrero-Waldner

European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy

Concluding remarks

Conference: Towards an EU External Energy Policy to Assure a High Level of Supply Security
Brussels, 21 November 2006

Dear Ministers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have had some interesting and fruitful discussions over these past two days. The huge interest that this conference has met confirmed that energy issues including external energy policy are high on the agenda not only in Brussels and with Member States, but also with our partners and with industry.

I am happy to see that there was a broad support to recognize a legitimate role for the EU to play in external energy policy. As President Barroso and HRSG Solana and many of the panellists stated, we need an European Energy policy integrating both the internal and external aspects that maintains Europe’s competitiveness, safeguards our environmental objectives and ensures our security of supplies. In the area of our external energy relations we need to speak with one voice and put all our policies such as trade, development, competition, R§D at the disposal of our energy security. Energy security and climate security are intrinsically linked.

We can conclude also that it is the right time to have a real EU added value in our energy relations within the EU and with our external partners through an enhanced legal framework.

As I have mentioned in my opening speech, I intend to study further the available options for a “fully fledged European Energy Community based on EU acquis that would create a real integrated European energy market not just limited to the EU Member States and the South East European countries, but comprising also our ENP countries, and other partners, when appropriate”. This community should also enclose Norway, one of our most important energy partners.

As far as the external dimension is concerned, this energy community should be based on the South East Energy Community and regional cooperation under development such as an Euro Mediterranean and Euro Black Sea and Caspian Sea Energy Common Houses. In this context the future agreement with Russia in the framework of the Post PCA will be an important element.

Last but not least, we need to strongly support and facilitate the creation of such a Community by strengthening the physical infrastructure such as pipelines and electricity cables. Strategic energy infrastructure linking Europe with the Mediterranean Sea, African Sub Sahara, the Caspian Basin, Central Asia and Middle East should be the cement of our common energy security.

Finally we should think of having in place a well coordinated response by all internal and external policy instruments in case a supply disruption occurs.

On 29th November the Commission intends to propose to the Council an ambitious package of measures to strengthen our European Neighbourhood Policy. In this framework we will also propose the creation of an infrastructure fund designed to co-finance in particular energy and transport infrastructure investments in the ENP region. This fund would significantly contribute in realizing our ambitions in the external energy policy of the Union.

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