Looking east to address energy issues
The European Union’s energy requirements are growing, as is its need to import fuel. At the same time, the countries to the east of the EU are seeking to improve the use of the region's significant energy resources. Cooperation between the EU and its eastern neighbours can create predictable and transparent energy markets, capable of stimulating investment and economic growth as well as security of energy supply.
The INOGATE programme was a trailblazer for energy co-operation in this region. It originally aimed to promote the regional integration of pipeline systems and to facilitate oil and gas transport within the Newly Independent States (NIS) and onwards to EU markets. Over the past years, INOGATE's scope has been extended to cover issues in relation to electricity, renewable energy and energy efficiency. In addition, the programme encourages private investment and support from international financial institutions. INOGATE’s technical secretariat is based in Kiev.
The Baku Ministerial Conference, which took place in November 2004, opened the door to expanded energy co-operation between the EU and the countries of the Black Sea, the Caspian Basin and their neighbours, namely: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation (which has observer status only), Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Tajikistan joined in 2006.
An energy ministers’ conference held in Astana, Kazakhstan, in November 2006 specifically mapped out directions for future co-operation, with a particular focus on convergence of energy markets, enhancement of security of supply, diversification of energy sources (especially towards renewable energies) and energy efficiency, as well as on the need for furthering investments.
EU assistance at regional level is also significant in the nuclear field, and aims to improve plant safety in NIS countries. From 1991 to 2004, the EU allocated €1.145 million to achieve this objective.