International cooperation is crucial in responding to global energy challenges such as climate change, environmental protection, and volatile prices.
With global energy demand growing rapidly, the EU faces increasing competition for fossil fuels. It works with its international partners to ensure secure supplies of energy at competitive prices for Europe. At the same time, the success of EU policies to tackle worldwide greenhouse gas emissions also hinges on the energy policies of other countries.
Intergovernmental agreements made by EU countries
When individual EU countries negotiate international energy agreements with non-EU countries, they share information on these agreements with the European Commission and each other. This is done through the Commission's information exchange mechanism. It ensures that these agreements do not violate EU laws or hamper the internal energy market.
EU cooperation with other countries
The EU strives to maintain good relations with its key suppliers of natural gas, oil, coal, and other energy resources. In particular, this means working closely with Norway and Russia, who supply over half of the EU's gas. It also involves cooperation with OPEC countries, who provide over 40% of the EU's oil; states in the Gulf Cooperation Council; and emerging suppliers in Africa, the Americas, and Central Asia and the Caucasus.
China, Russia, the United States and Norway
China, Russia, and the United States are some of the largest economies on earth and their actions have an important impact on EU efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensure affordable energy, and enhance security of supply. Energy markets in these countries may also present lucrative opportunities for EU businesses.
Norway is a key energy partner for the EU and major supplier of oil and gas and electricity. It is a member of the European Economic Area Agreement and it applies EU internal energy market rules.
- Cooperation with China
- Cooperation with Russia
- Cooperation with the United States
- Cooperation with Norway
The Eastern Partnership
The Eastern Partnership is an initiative to help Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine increase economic, political, and cultural links with the EU. It includes energy security as one of its 'thematic platforms'. The energy work programme for 2014-2017 involves finding ways to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, nuclear safety and the construction of missing infrastructure links, and to bring partner countries' energy-related rules more in line with EU rules.
- European External Action Service
- Eastern Partnership Energy Panel
- Eastern Partnership Energy Flagship Initiative
The EU launched an annual energy dialogue with Brazil in 2007. The dialogue facilitates the exchange of views in areas such as biofuels, low carbon technologies, and energy efficiency.
The EU and India have adopted a Joint Declaration on a clean energy and climate partnership. The Declaration was endorsed by leaders at the EU-India summit in Brussels on 30 March 2016. The Declaration outlines the EU and India’s commitment to dialogue and cooperation on clean energy, energy efficiency and climate action. Under the partnership, both the EU and India will share views on policy and regulatory approaches, promote business solutions and support joint innovation activities.
The EU and India have held an energy dialogue since 2005. The EU-India Energy Panel meets once a year. The 2016 declaration builds on the 2012 Joint Declaration for enhanced cooperation on energy between the EU and India and takes it further.
- Joint statement following the EU-India summit, Brussels, 30 March 2016
- Joint declaration on a clean energy and climate partnership, 30 March 2016
- Communication on an EU-India strategic partnership [COM(2004)430]
- EU-India relations (European External Action Service)
The EU and Japan discuss topics such as nuclear energy, energy security, and technology through the EU-Japan energy dialogue. Expert-level exchanges on developments in the gas market have also been taking place since 2013.
- Summary of expert consultations on gas between the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and DG Energy
- Working Conclusions of the Regular Energy Dialogue Meeting, 7 June 2012
- EU-Japan relations (European External Action Service)
South Africa is a major exporter of coal and supplies the EU with about 6% of its coal. The EU and South Africa take part in a joint working group every year to discuss coal, clean coal, and carbon capture and storage.
- 2012 Coal and clean coal meeting | Part 2
- 2012 Carbon capture and storage meeting
- 2009 Coal and clean coal meeting
- EU-South Africa relations (European External Action Service)
Turkey is a candidate for EU membership and, given that it is a major energy importing country, energy dialogue with Turkey is particularly important. It is also a potential transit country for natural gas to flow from the Caucasus and Central Asia into the EU. The EU cooperates with Turkey to enable the integration of the Turkish gas and electricity markets into its internal energy market. Turkey is also an observer in the Energy Community.
- 2012 meeting between the EU and Turkey on energy
- 2012 Joint statement
- EU-Turkey relations (European External Action Service)
Ukraine has been a member of the Energy Community since February 2011 and is committed to integrating its energy market with that of the EU. It is also a key transit country for EU energy imports from Russia. In particular, over 50% of Russian gas supplies to the EU go through pipelines in Ukraine. EU-Ukraine energy relations are based on the Association Agreement in force since 1 September 2017. In addition, on 24 November 2016 in Brussels the EU and Ukraine signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Energy Partnership, updating their 2005 Memorandum of Understanding on Energy. The objective of the new Memorandum is to achieve a full integration of the EU's and Ukraine's energy markets. The EU and Ukraine are intensifying their cooperation in the energy field in order to reform Ukraine's energy sectors, with reference to the five pillars of the EU's Energy Union. In accordance with this Memorandum, the parties prepare a joint Annual Work Plan to facilitate its implementation.
- EU-Ukraine Memorandum of Understanding 2016
- 2017 EU-Ukraine Annual Work Plan
- Overview of EU-Ukraine cooperation in energy
- EU-Ukraine relations (European External Action Service)
- EU-Ukraine Memorandum of Understanding on Energy 2005
Progress reports on the implementation of the 2005 MoU
- 9th Joint EU-Ukraine report on the implementation of the 2005 MoU in 2014 en ua
- 2013 - Report 8 en ua
- 2012 - Report 7 en ua
- 2011 - Report 6
- 2010 - Report 5
- 2009 - Report 4
- 2008 - Report 3
- 2007 - Report 2
- 2006 - Report 1
Algeria is the third biggest supplier of gas to the EU, and the EU is the biggest importer of Algerian gas.
The EU and Algeria have a political dialogue on energy matters , launched in 2015, which covers cooperation on natural gas, renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy market integration and infrastructure development.
Two ‘groups of experts’ – one on natural gas and the other on electricity, renewables and energy efficiency - and a business forum are part of the agreement.
Union for the Mediterranean
Launched in 2008, the Union for the Mediterranean promotes economic integration and cooperation amongst the 41 countries in the region, including all EU countries.
In energy, the goal is to create an integrated Mediterranean energy market, and to promote renewables and energy efficiency. This involves the flagship Mediterranean Solar Plan project which aimed to create the regulatory and financial conditions necessary to exploit the region's vast solar and wind resources. In 2015 three platforms for cooperation and partnerships on gas, the regional electricity market, and renewables and energy efficiency, will be launched.
EU cooperation with international organisations
The EU also works with important international energy organisations including the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Energy Community – extending the EU's internal market
The Energy Community is an international organisation which aims to integrate neighbouring countries into the EU's internal energy market. The extension of the internal market to these countries is intended to increase regional competition and improve security of supply.