European Neighbourhood Policy - South - energy and environment

Data extracted in December 2019.

Planned article update: March 2022.


In 2018, the highest primary energy production among the European Neighbourhood Policy-South countries was in Algeria with 165.2 million toe followed by Egypt 71.7 million toe (2016 data).

Algeria was a sizeable net exporter of energy, some 100.4 million toe in 2018.

Relative to its land area, Lebanon had the largest forest area among the European Neighbourhood Policy-South countries.

Primary production of energy, by product, 2018
(% of total)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_bal_s)

This article is part of an online publication and provides information on a range of statistics related to energy and the environment for 8 of the 10 countries that form the European Neighbourhood Policy-South (ENP-South) region — Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine [1] and Tunisia; no recent data are available for Libya or Syria. The article presents, among others, information on the structure of energy production and consumption and a range of environmental areas such as climate change or the provision of water supplies to the population. This information is presented through a broad range of indicators including: primary energy production, gross inland energy consumption, the share of forests in the total area, the level of greenhouse gas emissions, and the share of the population connected to public water supply and urban wastewater collecting systems (for more detailed data see the article on living conditions).

Several issues have kept energy high up on the political agenda for a number of years, including: the volatility of energy prices, interruptions to energy supplies, and increased attention to anthropogenic (human-induced) effects of energy use on climate change, in particular, increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions (see below for more information).

The ENP-South countries experience many of the environmental issues faced by the wider world, with issues such as the quality and scarcity of water, soil erosion or desertification particularly important. Indeed, water is essential for life and an indispensable resource for the economy (especially within the agricultural sector) and it is becoming an increasingly scarce resource in many of the ENP-South countries.

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Primary energy production

Natural resource endowments of fossil fuels largely determine the structure of primary energy production. Many of the ENP-South countries have an energy mix that is dominated by just one source of energy. By contrast, energy production in the EU-28 is more varied, reflecting the availability of different fossil fuel deposits and the potential for hydro power, as well as different policies in relation to the production of energy from nuclear fuels and renewables.

In 2017, the primary energy production of the EU-28 was 758 million tonnes of oil equivalent (hereafter abbreviated as toe). Energy statistics are often presented in toe, which is a normalised unit of energy equivalent to the approximate amount of energy that can be extracted from one tonne of crude oil; the use of data in toe makes it easier to compare and combine data in quantities for different types of energy products. The level of EU-28 primary energy production in 2017 can be compared with worldwide production (according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) of 14.0 billion toe.

Table 1: Main indicators for energy, 2016-2018
Source: Eurostat (nrg_bal_s) and (nama_10_gdp)

Algeria and Egypt are endowed with considerable oil and natural gas resources, as reflected by primary energy production of 165.2 million toe in Algeria in 2018 (equivalent to more than one fifth of the EU-28 total) and 71.7 million toe in Egypt in 2016 (equivalent to just under one tenth of the EU-28 total)— see Table 1. The level of primary energy production was relatively low in the remaining ENP-South countries for which data are available; note however, that there was a relatively large oil and natural gas industry in Libya (which, according to the annual statistical bulletin of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has the largest oil reserves in Africa), although its level of primary production was disrupted from 2011 as a result of civil unrest.

The EU-28 is a net importer of energy, as its energy imports in 2017 totalled 1.53 billion toe, compared with exports of 580.3 million toe. Among the ENP-South countries, the largest net importers of energy products were Morocco (19.5 million toe in 2017) and Israel (15.9 million toe in 2017). It is also interesting to note that, despite being endowed with considerable natural resources, Egypt was also a net importer of energy products (10.6 million toe in 2016). By contrast, Algeria was a sizeable net exporter of energy, some 100.4 million toe in 2018.

Energy-related products represented an important source of foreign revenue for some ENP-South countries, although fluctuations in energy prices may result in considerable variations in the value of trade from one year to the next (more details are provided in an article on international trade in goods). Algeria recorded by far the highest quantity of energy exports among the ENP-South countries, as its exports in 2018 totalled 101.4 million toe, which was more than six times as high as in Egypt (in 2016), where the second highest quantity of energy exports among ENP-South countries was recorded (see Table 1); note that there are no recent data available for Libya.

The level of primary energy production may fluctuate considerably from one year to the next as a result of changes in energy demand (reflecting economic fortunes and the number of heating/cooling days), the development of energy prices (which are affected by the level of market supply and demand) and the weather (particularly for hydro power). Changes in the level of primary energy production may also reflect new energy resources coming on-stream or existing energy resources becoming depleted.

Between 2008 and 2016, primary energy production in the EU-28 fell overall by 11.9 %. Figure 1 shows that there was a relatively rapid decline in EU-28 output in 2009 (down 4.7 %) and 2011 (down 3.8 %), either side of an increase of 2.1 % in 2010 which was the only positive development recorded during the period studied. It also shows that there were broadly similar developments for the two largest energy producers among the ENP-South countries: the level of primary production fell overall by 5.7 % between 2008 and 2018 in Algeria and by 12.4 % in Egypt between 2008 and 2016.

Figure 1: Primary energy production, 2008-2018
(million toe)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_bal_s)

Primary energy products

According to the IEA, just under one third (31.9 %) of the primary energy produced worldwide in 2017 was petroleum products, while solid fuels accounted for just over one quarter of the total (26.9 %), and just over one fifth of the total (22.5 %) was gas; when combined, these three fuels accounted for more than four fifths (81.3 %) of global energy production.

Figure 2 shows that the primary production of energy in some of the ENP-South countries was generally dominated by petroleum products and gas; the former was of particular importance to the energy mix in Algeria (44.1 %; 2018 data) and Tunisia (38.4 %; 2017 data), while the latter was of particular importance in Israel (92.1 %; 2017 data), Algeria (55.7 %; 2018 data) and Tunisia (38.7 %; 2017 data). Note that there is no recent information available for Egypt.

Figure 2: Primary production of energy, by product, 2018
(% of total)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_bal_s)

Gross inland energy consumption

The main difference between levels of primary energy production and gross inland energy consumption is international trade: a shortfall in production needs to be met by net imports, while a production surplus is generally accompanied by net exports. As well as primary production and international trade, gross inland consumption takes into account changes in stocks and the supply of energy to bunkers (for international maritime transport).

In 2017, the gross inland energy consumption of the EU-28 was 1.67 billion toe (see Table 1). Based on the latest available data, the cumulative gross inland energy consumption of eight of the ENP-South countries (excluding Libya and Syria) was 219.7 million toe, equivalent to a little more than one eighth of the EU-28 total.

The highest levels of gross inland energy consumption among the ENP-South countries were recorded in the most populous countries: Egypt (81.9 million toe; 2016 data) and Algeria (61.5 million toe; 2017 data), while the third highest level of gross inland energy consumption was recorded in Israel (22.9 million toe; 2017 data), a level that was slightly higher than in Morocco (21.5 million toe; 2017 data).

In 2017, gross inland energy consumption in the EU-28 averaged 3 272 kgoe per inhabitant, a reduction of 35 kgoe when compared with 2013 (see Figure 3); part of this decline may be attributed to a relatively slow rate of economic growth. However, some of the decline may be attributed to efforts to improve energy efficiency in a variety of areas/applications, for example, within businesses, houses, or for means of transport. For more information on energy intensity, see Goal 7 on affordable and clean energy in the article on indicators for sustainable development.

Figure 3: Gross inland consumption of energy, 2013 and 2018
(kgoe per inhabitant)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_bal_s) and (demo_gind)

All of the ENP-South countries recorded gross inland energy consumption per inhabitant below the level registered in the EU-28: Israel had the highest level of gross inland energy consumption per inhabitant among the ENP-South countries, at 2 654 kgoe (2017 data). Between 2013 and 2017, there was an expansion in gross inland energy consumption per inhabitant in Algeria, Egypt (2013-2016), Palestine, Tunisia and Morocco. By contrast, gross inland energy consumption per inhabitant fell in Jordan (2013-2018) and more strongly in Israel (2013-2017).

Final energy consumption

Figure 4 shows that in the EU-28 an average of 639 kgoe of energy was consumed per inhabitant for transport during 2017, while consumption by industry was equivalent to 510 kgoe per inhabitant. In 2017, relative to the size of the population, the consumption of energy in Israel within the transport sector was slightly higher than in the EU-28, at 693 kgoe per inhabitant, while at the other end of the range, consumption within the transport sector averaged less than 200 kgoe per inhabitant in Morocco (2017 data), Palestine (2017 data) and Egypt (2016 data).

Figure 4: Final energy consumption, 2018
(kgoe per inhabitant)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_bal_s) and (demo_gind)

All of the ENP-South countries for which data are available recorded much lower levels (than the EU-28) of energy consumption per inhabitant for industry. The highest levels of consumption among the ENP-South countries were recorded in Algeria (241 kgoe per inhabitant; 2017 data), Egypt (204 kgoe per inhabitant; 2016 data) and Tunisia (189 kgoe per inhabitant; 2017 data). The lowest consumption of energy for industry (relative to population size) was recorded in Palestine (19 kgoe; 2017 data).


Forestry is considered to have a crucial role in mitigating climate change. Data on forest resources may be used as an indicator to measure how adequately forest resources (forest types and characteristics) are being maintained and whether or not these resources continue to support social, economic and environmental objectives. Contrary to what is happening in many other parts of the world, the area covered by forests and other wooded land in the EU-28 is slowly increasing. In 2015, an estimated 37.0 % of the EU-28’s land area was covered by forests (therefore not counting other wooded land), this share was above the world average of 30.6 %.

The share of land covered by forest in the ENP-South countries was considerably lower, peaking at 13.4 % in Lebanon (in 2016), while Morocco was the only other ENP-South country to record a double-digit share (12.6 %; 2016 data). By contrast, forests accounted for less than 1.0 % of the total area of Algeria and Egypt in 2016 (see Figure 5).

Figure 5: Share of forests in land area, 2018
Source: Eurostat (for_area) and (reg_area3) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation

Greenhouse gas emissions

Among other environmental commitments, the EU-28 has committed to a 40 % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The information presented in Table 2 shows developments for the combined output of six different greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The quantity of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-28 fell in 2008 and again in 2009. The rebound in economic activity following the global financial and economic crisis may explain, at least to some degree, the increase in emission levels recorded in 2010. Thereafter, a pattern of falling greenhouse gas emissions was restored until 2015 when there was an increase (up 0.8 %). A small fall (down 0.4 %) was recorded in 2016 and then another increase in 2017 (up 0.7 %). In 2017, the EU-28 generated 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, some 15.5 % lower than in 2007.

Table 2: Greenhouse gas emissions, 2007-2017
(million tonnes of CO2 equivalents)
Source: Eurostat (env_air_gge)

Among the two ENP-South countries for which a full time series is available (see Table 2), greenhouse gas emissions were seen to be rising. Most of the ENP-South countries are in the process of economic development and population growth is also faster than in the EU-28; these factors may, to some degree, explain the increases in emissions that are observed.

Relatively rapid growth was recorded in Palestine where greenhouse gas emissions rose by 76.2 % during the period 2007-2017. In relative terms, a much smaller increase was recorded in Israel (emissions rising by 4.6 % between 2007 and 2017; note that there is a break in series).


In 2018, almost the entirety of the population in Israel, Algeria, Jordan and Palestine (2015 data) received their water from the public water supply — see Figure 6. No recent data are available for other ENP-South countries. For comparison, connection rates to public water supplies in the EU Member States ranged from 67.5 % in Romania up to 100.0 % in Spain, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta and the Netherlands.

In 2018, the vast majority of the population — at least 9 out of every 10 persons — in Israel and Algeria were connected to an urban wastewater collecting system, while in Jordan the share was 61 %.

Figure 6: Population connected to public water supply and to urban wastewater collecting systems, 2018
Source: Eurostat (env_wat_pop) and (env_ww_con)

Data sources

Data for ENP-South countries are supplied by and under the responsibility of the national statistical authorities of each country on a voluntary basis. The data presented in this article result from an annual data collection cycle that has been established by Eurostat. No recent data are available from Libya or Syria. These statistics are available free-of-charge on Eurostat’s website, together with a range of different indicators covering most socio-economic areas.


For EU statistics, the main legislation covering the collection of statistics in relation to energy quantities is Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008 on energy statistics. Since its adoption, it has been amended five times and a consolidated version is available.

Primary production of energy takes place when energy sources are made use of, for example, in crude oil or natural gas fields, in nuclear reactors, hydro-electric power plants or wind turbines. The primary production of crude oil is defined as the quantities of fuel extracted or produced within national boundaries, including off-shore production. Primary production of natural gas is defined as the quantities of dry gas, measured after purification and extraction of natural gas liquids and sulphur. Energy transformed from one form to another, such as electricity or heat generation in thermal power plants, is not considered as primary production of energy.

Gross inland energy consumption is the energy that a country requires to meet its internal (national) demand. This covers: consumption by the energy sector itself; distribution and transformation losses; final energy consumption by end users; non-energy use by end users (such as feedstock for the petrochemical industry, lubricants); statistical differences.

Energy imports and exports include primary energy products and derived energy products, which cross national territorial boundaries. Petroleum products and gas imported or exported under processing agreements (in other words, refining on account) are included, as is electricity (if transiting through a country, the amount is shown as both imports and exports); other fuels in transit are excluded.

Energy intensity is measured as a ratio which relates the quantity of energy consumed to the level of economic output. The indicator is calculated as gross inland energy consumption (expressed in kilograms of oil equivalent; kgoe) divided by gross domestic product (GDP) in constant (2010) prices. If an economy uses less energy (for example, through structural change or improved efficiency) and its GDP remains constant, then the value of this indicator will fall.


Eurostat produces annual statistics on forestry using two questionnaires:

  • a joint forest sector questionnaire (JFSQ) on production and trade in wood and wood products — this forms part of a worldwide exercise in which Eurostat is responsible for the EU and EFTA countries;
  • an integrated environmental and economic accounting for forests (IEEAF) questionnaire providing data on economic accounts for forestry and logging — this data collection exercise is part of Eurostat’s environmental satellite accounts initiative.

Eurostat also has access to a wide range of international statistics that are produced by partner organisations, for example, data on wood resources that are produced by the forestry department of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). These data primarily concern a five-yearly survey assessing forest resources, where each country in the world is asked to report its forest area, wood resources and removals.


Eurostat, in close partnership with the European Environment Agency (EEA), provides environmental statistics, accounts and indicators supporting the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the EU’s environmental policies, strategies and initiatives. Eurostat collects a wide range of statistics covering, for example, air emission accounts, waste, water, material flows or environmental protection expenditure.

Data on greenhouse gas emissions as reported under the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) are collected by the EEA. The Kyoto Protocol, an environmental agreement adopted by many of the parties to the UNFCCC in 1997 to curb global warming, covers six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), which are non-fluorinated gases, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), which are fluorinated gases. Converting them to carbon dioxide equivalents makes it possible to compare them and to determine their individual and total contributions to global warming. All of the ENP-South countries (with the exception of Palestine which is an observer at the UNFCCC) have ratified the Kyoto Protocol and it entered into force across the region during the period 2005-2007.

The collection of water statistics within the EU is based on information demands linked to the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Eurostat and the OECD jointly administer a questionnaire on inland waters among EU Member States, candidate countries and potential candidates. Data collection is voluntary although there is an initiative to establish a legal framework for the collection of water statistics.

Water is supplied by economic units engaged in the collection, purification and distribution of water, with statistics available on the share of the population receiving their water from such a public water supply entity (as opposed to having a private supply or simply not being connected to a water supply). The proportion of the population connected to wastewater treatment plants covers those connected to any kind of sewage treatment facility; it excludes those connected to wastewater systems that simply discharge wastewater (without any treatment) into the environment. Indeed, when wastewater is released untreated back onto the land, or into the sea or rivers, it can become a significant health risk.

Tables in this article use the following notation:

Value in italics     data value is forecasted, provisional or estimated and is therefore likely to change;
: not available, confidential or unreliable value;
not applicable.



The key objectives of the EU’s energy policy may be grouped together under three main headings:

  • to secure energy supplies, ensuring the reliable provision of energy;
  • to ensure that that energy providers operate in a competitive environment;
  • to promote sustainable energy consumption, through the lowering of greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, and fossil fuel dependence.

The EU’s Energy Union seeks to ensure secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy, by promoting the free flow of energy across national borders within the EU. With this in mind, new pipelines and power lines are being built to develop EU-wide networks for gas and electricity, and common rules are being designed to increase competition between suppliers and to promote consumer choice. At the same time, the EU is trying to stimulate the domestic production of energy (especially through the development of renewable energy sources) and to promote energy efficiency.

One of the biggest challenges facing the EU is its dependence on energy imports, as these account for more than half of the energy consumed in the EU each year. There are a range of related issues, including: rising global demand; energy price fluctuations; scarcity of supply for some fuels; or, the small number of global energy producers and associated geopolitical concerns.

To pursue these goals, the EU has developed a strategy that is based on a collection of targets that have been formulated for 2020, 2030, and 2050. In December 2011, the Energy Roadmap 2050 set a long-term goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 % (when compared with 1990 levels) and alluded to four key areas for creating a more sustainable, competitive and secure energy system by 2050: energy efficiency; renewable energy; nuclear energy; and carbon capture and storage.

The 2020 Energy Strategy defines the EU’s energy priorities for the period 2010-2020 and aims to:

  • reduce greenhouse gases by at least 20 % (compared with 1990);
  • increase the share of renewable energy in the EU’s energy mix to at least 20 % of consumption;
  • improve energy efficiency by at least 20 %;
  • see all EU Member States achieving a 10 % share of renewable energy in their transport sectors.

These initial targets were further developed and a new set of headline targets for 2030 were agreed by EU heads of state and government on 24 October 2004, namely to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 % (compared with 1990);
  • raise the share of renewable energy consumption in the energy mix to at least 27 %;
  • make at least 27 % energy efficiency savings (and possibly 30 %, target to be reviewed in 2020);
  • complete the internal energy market and to push ahead with infrastructure projects.

These targets and goals were extended in mid-December 2019 as the European Commission announced plans — the European Green Deal — to ensure climate neutrality by 2050 in response to the climate and environmental emergency.


The key objectives of the EU’s environmental policy are:

  • to protect, conserve and enhance the EU’s natural capital;
  • to turn the EU into a resource-efficient, green, and competitive low-carbon economy;
  • to safeguard the EU’s citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and well-being.

In December 2015, a global agreement was reached at the 2015 United Nations’ climate change conference in Paris; this was signed by 174 parties in New York in April 2016 and opened for ratification. The agreement sets out an action plan to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

Environment action programmes have guided the development of the EU’s environment policy since the early 1970s. The current EU environment action programme — referred to as the 7th EAP — was adopted by Decision 1386/2013 of the European Parliament and Council in November 2013 under the title ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’.

Water is essential for life and an indispensable resource for the economy. Accordingly, EU water policy focuses on protecting water resources. A Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s water provides a strategy to reinforce water management in the EU. Its time horizon is closely related to the Europe 2020 strategy and, in particular, to the resource efficiency roadmap, although it is also expected to drive EU water policy over the longer-term through to 2050.

European Neighbourhood Policy

On 18 November 2015, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission jointly presented a review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (SWD(2015) 500 final) which underlined a new approach for the EU in relation to its eastern and southern neighbours, based on stabilising the region in political, economic, and security-related terms.

In cooperation with its ENP partners, Eurostat has the responsibility ‘to promote and implement the use of European and internationally recognised standards and methodology for the production of statistics necessary for developing and monitoring policy achievements in all policy areas’. Eurostat undertakes the task of coordinating EU efforts to increase the statistical capacity of the ENP countries. Additional information on the policy context of the ENP is provided here.


  1. This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.
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Area of wooded land (source: FAO - FE) (for_area)
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