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Energy Cooperation with the Eastern Neighbourhood

Energy concerns are at the heart of the partnership between the EU and its Eastern neighbour countries. Energy networks, energy concerns related to environmental protection as well as security of energy supply to the EU are among the priority areas for cooperation. Nuclear safety also receives special attention.

Gweletti gas metering station, Georgia

The priority areas are defined in the Eastern Regional Strategy Paper (2007-13) of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which funds cooperation with Eastern partner countries.

The Strategy Paper mentions as crucial issues:

  • the need to ensure the diversification and security of energy supplies to the EU, the ENPI Eastern region representing a key region in this respect;
  • curbing wasteful energy use;
  • facilitating the development and upgrading of the necessary infrastructure and the progressive integration of the region’s energy markets with the EU energy market.

Different tools are at the EU's disposal to take up these challenges together with the partners on its eastern borders.

Eastern Partnership

Launched in May 2009, the Eastern Partnership (EaP) intensified the level of engagement of the EU with the six partner countries in the East:

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

The EaP introduced a new cooperation framework based on four multilateral thematic platforms. This includes a platform on Energy security, which covers issue such as energy interconnections, energy market integration, energy efficiency, renewable energy. The Energy Security Platform meets twice a year with participation of the EU and the Partners Countries at senior official level. The last adopted work programme covers the period 2012-2013.

Covenant of Mayors

The Commission launched the Covenant of Mayors in 2008, as part of the EU Climate and Energy Package, to support the efforts of local authorities to implement sustainable energy policies. Under the Covenant of Mayors, cities aim to meet and exceed the European Union 20% CO2 reduction objective by 2020 through the implementation of Sustainable Energy Action Plans. Since the launch of the initiative, it has been an overwhelming success in the EU and abroad, with a growing number of cities joining from the Eastern Partnership region.

The Covenant of Mayors is one of the priorities under the Eastern Partnership Energy Security platform and the Commission has launched a project (€6,8 million) in 2011 that includes the establishment of a branch office of the Covenant of Mayors in Lviv (Ukraine) and Tbilisi (Georgia). The office provides technical assistance to strengthen capacity in the municipalities to deal with sustainable energy issues through the implementation of sustainable energy action plans. The project also finances a number of grant contracts involving demonstration projects in the region. The project covers six Eastern Partnership countries (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine) and five Central Asian countries (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan).

Their inclusion in the Covenant of Mayors will help to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels, improve security of their energy supply, and increase their contribution to climate mitigation.

INOGATE Programme

The INOGATE Programme is the technical energy cooperation programme between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Although the INOGATE programme was established in 1996, it was given shape in its current form under the Ministerial Energy Conference in Baku in 2004 (called Baku Initiative) that defined the four objective areas of the programme in the field of energy market convergence, energy security, sustainable energy and energy investments.

An Energy Roadmap was adopted at the Astana Energy Ministerial Conference in 2006. With the launch of the Eastern Partnership in 2008, INOGATE also became the main instrument to support the objectives under the Energy Security Platform and assist countries that are part of the EU Energy Community Treaty to make the necessary reforms. The INOGATE programme has a Secretariat based in Kiev and Tbilisi.

Nuclear Safety Cooperation Instrument

The Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC) contributes to the improvement of nuclear safety levels and efficient nuclear safeguards in non-EU countries.

In the Eastern neighbour countries, it provides support to nuclear regulators for safety improvements to nuclear plants, emergency management and projects to rehabilitate the Chernobyl site.

It replaces the previous TACIS Nuclear Safety Programme (2000-06).

Enhanced dialogue and cooperation

Efforts targeting increased energy cooperation between the EU and its Eastern neighbours are starting to pay off: the Implementation Report of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2010 indicates that partner countries have taken steps towards reform to achieve an approximation with the EU as well as more energy efficiency and increased production of renewable energy.

Partners continued to develop energy infrastructure and networks, strengthened nuclear regulatory authorities and undertook safety upgrading of their nuclear power plants.

Key documents

Last update: 29/08/2012 | Top