Energy cooperation has been in existence since 1994 and is one of the earliest Sectoral Dialogues between the European Commission and its Chinese partner in EU-China foreign relations. Two main bilateral forums on energy allow for close cooperation. Conferences between the Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER) and the Chinese Ministry of Science & Technology (MOST) take place on a bi-annual basis, alternating between China and Brussels since 1994. Furthermore an annual energy dialogue with the National Energy Administration of China (NEA) is being pursued since
2005. Inaddition, energy issues are also being discussed between Heads of States at the EU-China summits, which take place once a year. The most recent one took place in October 2010 .
Six priority areas have been identified for cooperation between the EC and China in the field of energy: Renewable energy, smart grids, energy efficiency in the building sector, clean coal, nuclear energy and energy law.
Since more than 30 years the European Commission and China enjoy diplomatic relations, enshrined in the EU-China Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement signed in 1985. Over the course of the last decades we have established a series of so-called Sectoral Dialogues where the EU and China cooperate in specific areas. EC-China relations on energy are one of these dialogue series, and in fact constitute one of the most constructive areas of cooperation between the EC and China. Today the relations are marked by a mutual understanding of the added value of cooperation in the field of energy.
The first EU-China Mayors Forum, held in Brussels on 19-20 September, gathered more than 600 participants, including a 100-strong Chinese delegation: 28 European and Chinese Mayors, some representatives of 50 other cities/regions, and many more stakeholders and individual experts, for two days of exchanges on the challenges and opportunities for cooperation in sustainable urban development.
The Mayors Forum is the flagship event of the EU-China Urbanisation Partnership, launched by President Barroso and Premier Wen in the preceding Summit of February 2012. The Partnership will offer a natural framework for concerted actions, such as a new programme designed to assist Chinese mayors, and the creation of this EU-China Urban Forum. The political initiative should also constitute a platform for Member States to leverage their existing and future actions in the field of urbanisation in China.
The EU-China Mayors Forum is a Summit-level deliverable: it was called into existence by Premier Wen and the EU leaders at the 14th Summit in Beijing in February 2012, was organised back-to-back with the 15th EU-China Summit in Brussels, and duly reported in the Joint Statement issued on the same occasion. It is major opportunity for EU interests: Vice-Minister Qiu stated that China is going to invest more than 10 trillion RMB (circa 1 trillion EUR) in green transport connecting smaller-size cities, in public welfare and social protection (including green social housing), in resilience of cities and disaster management. Renewable energy will play an important role in urban areas. Half of the global volume of construction will take place in China in the next ten years, and cities with 1million+ inhabitants will be very common. MoHURD is planning more than 100 greenfield "satellite eco-cities" of more than 250.000 people each.
14 Chinese Mayors signed the "EU-China Mayors Charter" with an equivalent number of EU counterparts. This is a breakthrough that paves the way for more Chinese cities to join the Charter in the close future, among other things.
In the margins of the summit, Commissioner Piebalgs (who delivered the closing speech at the Mayors Forum) signed with MofCom Minister Chen Deming the Financial Agreement for the new EUR10-million "Europe-China Eco-Cities" EC-LINK project. At cruising speed, the EC LINK will provide apermanent secretariat and bilingual internet platform to sustain the exchanges of best practices and bilateral contacts initiated during the EU-China Mayors Forum.
Several Commission DGs (REGIO, RTD, MOVE, EAC), the Committee of Regions, the EESC, the European Parliament, think-tanks (Friends of Europe), EU-funded projects (EC2), the business community (European Chamber of Commerce in China, individual companies such as Danfoss, Véolia or Suez), industry associations such as Euroheat&Power, ….. joined forces with DG ENER to organise the two days of events.
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China's economic and energy situation
China's changing economy plays an important role in this respect. In 2010 China has passed Japan on the list of the world's largest economies, taking the second position behind the United States. Also, China overtook the US to become the world's biggest energy user and world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. As a result of the extremely rapid growth of the Chinese economy, between 2000 and 2008 China's increase in the global energy demand was more than four times greater than in previous decades. In 2008 China accounted already for 16.4 % of global total final energy consumption. Even though per-capita consumption currently is comparatively low with only 35 % of OECD average, the prospects for further growth are strong.
Projections of total primary and per-capita energy demand in China and the OECD:
Due to the increasing role of heavy industry in its development path, also energy intensity (unit of energy consumption per point of GDP) rose steadily in the last decade. In line with an increase of energy demand, also China's per capita emissions are increasing rapidly. China's growing energy consumption results further in the country becoming a net importer of oil, natural gas and coal. China has responded to these challenges by having adapted its energy policies respectively. In its 11th Five Year Plan, to be adopted in early 2011, it is expected that energy will be high on the agenda, encouraging local and provincial governments to deliver on energy efficiency.
Key economic and energy indicators for China:
China's growing economy and its implications on energy and climate change are strong arguments for Europe to engage China in a constructive way and to cooperate closely in energy matters. Europe has an interest in supporting China's transition towards a low-carbon economy. Both the EC and China share the vision that an effective energy policy can function as the backbone of a sustainable and environmentally friendly economic policy. China's efforts in this respect constitute both challenges and opportunities for Europe. China is therefore a central partner for the EU in the field of energy.
Projections for cumulative capacity additions in China from 2009 compared with 2008 installed capacities of Japan, the EU and the US:
On 3 May 2012, Vice-Premier Li's visit to Brussels provided an important opportunity to further strengthen the EU-China partnership, took stock of progress in the implementation of the 14th EU-China Summit held in February 2012 in Beijing and prepared the next Summit to be held next autumn in Brussels.
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Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's visit was marked by two important events:
The EU and China have signed at the occasion of the High Level Meeting on Energy:
Since more than 30 years the European Commission (EC) and China enjoy diplomatic relations, enshrined in the EU-China Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement signed in 1985. Over the course of the last decades a series of Sectoral Dialogues have been established between the EU and China, of which the cooperation in the field of energy.
Six priority areas have been identified for cooperation between the EC and China in the field of energy: Renewable energy, Smart grids, Energy efficiency in the building sector, Clean coal, Nuclear energy and Energy law.
The Forum was held in Beijing on 21 November 2013.
12 cooperation agreements on sustainable urbanisation between European and Chinese cities were signed on the occasion.
Since 1994, bi-annual conferences take place between the EC and MOST
Since 2005, annual energy dialogue with the NEA is being pursued
Once a year, energy issues are discussed between Heads of States at the EU-China summits