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International Cooperation

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Yellow
countries: Cooperation within a formal S&T agreement
Light blue countries: Cooperation within a bi-regional framework

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Introduction

As the challenges related to energy security and climate change issues are global by nature, international cooperation is key for achieving the objectives of the EU policies. Cooperation enhances scientific and technological progress and supports the development of a more diverse global portfolio of energy technologies to be deployed at world scale.

Within this context, the objectives of international cooperation in EU energy research are to:

  • Support European competitiveness through strategic partnerships in selected fields;
  • Address specific problems that third countries face or that have a global character, on the basis of mutual interest and mutual benefit;
  • Use cooperation in science & technology (S&T) to reinforce the Community's external relations and other EU relevant policies

For this purpose, the EU strives for developing tailor-made approaches towards cooperation with industrialised and developing countries and regions (list of countries). This way the different characteristics and needs of third countries/regions - in terms of geopolitics as well as socio-economic, cultural and scientific factors - can be taken into account.

In the centre of all international cooperation activities is mutual concern and mutual benefit - in short: the creation of win-win situations. Concrete benefits of international cooperation are:

  • enhancing synergies between the different partners,
  • facilitating the development of clean technologies as a response to current energy-related problems
  • pooling financial resources, sharing risks and setting common standards for large or relatively risky R&D projects,
  • supporting a more diverse global portfolio of energy technologies and reducing the costs of key technologies,
  • networking to better coordinate energy research agendas,
  • supporting technology deployment in and technology transfer to developing/emerging countries.

Cooperation takes place in different forms and at different levels:

  • At bilateral level agreements for scientific and technological cooperation have been signed with our main partners. These agreements define the priorities and the modalities of cooperation. Their implementation is managed by a Joint Steering Committee that meets regularly. In addition, a number of specific energy-related agreements and joint declarations have been signed with several countries. On that basis, several concrete joint S&T activities are being developed and implemented. The EU's most important funding instrument for research activities - the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) - is open to the participation of third countries. That means entities from non-EU countries or associated countries are allowed to participate in energy research projects funded by the EU. In addition, several "specific international cooperation actions" support - in the framework of FP7 - cooperation with targeted third countries on a particular topic.
  • In addition to the bilateral contacts the EU cooperates with certain countries in a bi-regional framework. This is the case for
    • Latin America and the Caribbean Countries,
    • Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPC),
    • Countries of the Black See Region (BSEC).
  • At multilateral level the EU cooperates with third countries in the frame of numerous Implementing Agreements of the International Agency for Energy. Furthermore the European Commission is actively involved in a series of multilateral initiatives in the non-nuclear energy field, e.g. The International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE), The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF).

You can find more information on the role of international cooperation in European research policy here.