Under the European Commission's leadership, a high-profile group of mayors and industry representatives has started to work towards making Europe’s cities 'smarter'. Today, Vice Presidents Kallas and Kroes and Commissioner Oettinger hosted the first High Level meeting of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) “Smart Cities and Communities”. The challenges that cities and communities face in the quest for sustainability and quality of life are increasingly significant. The EIP plans to support wide-scale deployment of innovative technologies in the areas of mobility management, energy generation, distribution and consumption, and information and communication technologies.
The informal meeting of Energy Ministers in Dublin on 23 and 24 April 2013 allowed for targeted discussions on the way forward for European energy policy.
The meeting was preceded by a joint lunch debate with Environment Ministers and Commissioner Hedegaard on the 2030 climate and energy framework. All agreed that the launch of the Commission's Green Paper was timely, as creating such a framework is necessary to foster investment in the energy system, to reduce energy import dependency and to safeguard the competitiveness of the EU.
During the main sessions Energy Ministers expressed their views and positions around the following topics:
This international forum under the patronage of EU Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger will discuss energy policy in Europe in the town of Lech, Vorarlberg Province, Austria.
The Forum, which will hold its second session this year, aims at leading the debate on the future of energy policy in Europe. A lively debate is expected following the adoption of the European Commission's Green Paper on 'A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies' on 27 March 2013.
A group of leading representatives from the world of business, from politics and civil society as well as delegates from neighbouring countries will discuss energy policy with special emphasis on four topics: What is the way forward for energy policy in Europe? How can we finance the transformation of our energy system? The EU – a regional or a global player in world energy markets? Can innovation save politics?
Expected participants include the Irish Chair of the Energy Council Pat Rabbitte, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, the Lithuanian Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovic, ministers from Ukraine and Morocco as well as the Austrian Minister for Economy, Reinhold Mitterlehner. Representatives of major European energy companies also participate, among them the CEOs of OMV, Verbund AG, RWE, EDF Energy and Tennet. Industry is represented, among others, by board members of Siemens, Daimler, Schaeffler, BASF and Alstom.
The European Commission on 27 March 2013 took the first step towards developing a 2030 framework for EU climate change and energy policies. It adopted a Green Paper which launches a public consultation on the content of the 2030 framework. The Commission also published a Consultative Communication on the future of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Europe, aimed at initiating a debate on the options available to ensure its timely development. Finally, the Commission adopted a report assessing Member States' progress towards their 2020 renewable energy targets and reports on the sustainability of biofuels and bioliquids consumed in the EU.
Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy said: "We need to define our climate and energy policy framework for 2030 as soon as possible to ensure proper investment that will give us sustainable growth, affordable competitive energy prices and greater energy security. The new framework must take into account the consequences of the economic crisis, but it must also be ambitious enough to meet the necessary long-term goal of cutting emissions 80-95% by 2050."
It is with deep regret and emotion that I must announce the death of Heinrich Hick, member of my Cabinet since February 2010 and previously official in the Directorate General for energy since 2008.
Heinrich was as much a friend as a colleague to me and the other members of my cabinet. He inspired us all with his enthusiasm, his knowledge, his humour and optimism.
My thoughts are with his wife and his children.
On 28 February – 1 March Commissioner Oettinger visited Scotland to meet members of Scottish Parliament and representatives of the government. He also met renewable energy stakeholders in Edinburgh and participated in a stakeholder's meeting on the North Sea Grid in Aberdeen.
Oettinger said: "I am happy that we have reached a political agreement on the Commission’s offshore safety proposal with the European Parliament and the Council. This is a major step enhancing the safety of offshore oil and gas production everywhere in the EU and very important for Scotland which is the EU’s largest petroleum producer region. Aberdeen is the centre of the North Sea oil and gas industry serving many offshore fields."