Union for the Mediterranean energy ministers met in Brussels on 11th December 2013
On the 11th December 2013, the European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger and the Jordanian Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Prof. Mohammad Hamed co-hosted a meeting of the Energy Ministers of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in Brussels.
The discussions focused on strengthening regional energy cooperation in order to ensure secure, affordable and sustainable energy supply and enhanced energy efficiency in the Mediterranean basin. The underlying aim of this cooperation is to foster socio-economic development and contribute to the transition to low carbon and energy efficient economies of the region.
The ministerial meeting took stock of the work done on the Mediterranean Solar Plan which should exploit the huge potential of the region. Ministers discussed and supported the development of a regional electricity market, underlining the need for investments in cross-border electricity connections and transmission infrastructure as well as for the reform of the regulatory framework. The meeting highlighted the importance of private sector investments in renewable energy, including through public-private partnerships. Overall, the meeting expressed a strong interest to deepen policy dialogue and enhance energy partnership among Union for the Mediterranean members.
In June 2012, the European Commission (EC) and the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean jointly organized a Mediterranean Energy Forum and a meeting of the Joint Committee of Experts for the Mediterranean Solar Plan with a focus on regulatory aspects and on electricity transmission infrastructure.
In May 2012, the association of Mediterranean Transmission System Operators (TSO) was presented to the International Community. Med-TSO is based on the EU's ENTSO-E model and aims at the integration of a regional electricity market in a long term. Med-TSO will facilitate the electricity systems integration of the MED-TSO area, by coordinating the development plans and the operation of the grids of MED-TSO countries, encouraging the integration of their electricity systems and the implementation of common criteria and harmonized, transparent and non-discriminatory rules of access to and usage of grids.
In November 2011, EC welcomed the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Desertec Industry Initiative (Dii) and Medgrid. The MoU establishes closer cooperation between the two private industry initiatives, which are key to the promotion of a renewable energy partnership between the EU and countries in the Southern Mediterranean. Areas of cooperation includes exchange of information, update on progress, joint evaluation of potential synergies, and joint efforts on the EU and Middle-East and North Africa level to obtain a more favourable regulatory framework for renewable energy markets.
In September 2010, the EC launched a comprehensive technical assistance project "Paving the Way for the Mediterranean Solar Plan" as a support tool on the implementation of the Mediterranean Solar Plan. The Mediterranean Solar Plan aims at two complementary targets: developing 20 GW of new renewable energy production capacities and achieving significant energy savings around the Mediterranean by 2020, thus addressing both supply and demand. The EC cooperates with the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean.
In July 2008, the Heads of states and governments of the European and Mediterranean countries launched the Union for the Mediterranean which provided a new impetus for regional cooperation. Creating a more integrated Mediterranean energy market is of primary importance for coping with the fast growing energy demand in the Southern Mediterranean Countries, while favouring low-carbon and renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. In the energy field, the flagship project of the Union for the Mediterranean is the Mediterranean Solar Plan. The Ministerial Declaration and its 2008-2013 Priority Action Plan for the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the field of energy was endorsed at the 5th Euro-Mediterranean Energy Ministerial Conference.