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EU Climate and Energy Policy

Energy is a vital part of our daily lives in Europe and has been for centuries. But the days of secure, cheap energy are over. We are already facing the consequences of climate change, increasing import dependence and higher energy prices.

Consequently, the EU has been developing its climate and energy policy as an integrated approach that pursues the three key objectives of:

  • security of supply: to better coordinate the EU's supply of and demand for energy within an international context;
  • competitiveness: to ensure the competitiveness of European economies and the availability of affordable energy;
  • sustainability: to combat climate change by promoting renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
Click to enlarge EU primary energy requirements by fuel Source: European Energy and Transport, Trends to 2030 — Update 2007
Click to enlarge Import dependency of the EU (in %) Source: European Energy and Transport, Trends to 2030 — Update 2007

These objectives have been translated into binding targets. By 2020, the EU has committed itself to:

  • reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions by 20% (or even 30% in case an international agreement is reached that commits other countries in a similar way);
  • increasing the share of renewable energies to 20% of total EU energy consumption;
  • increasing the share of renewable energies in transport to 10%;
  • improving energy efficiency by 20%.

Achieving these goals will require major breakthroughs in the research and development of new technologies. The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) - the technology pillar of the European energy and climate policy - outlines long-term energy research priorities for the horizon of 2020 to 2050. It lays the foundations for a European policy for energy technology and establishes a framework that brings together the diverse activities in the field of energy research. For more information please visit the SET-Plan section of this website.