Magazine article Europe-East

Energy : Conference Breathes New Life into Euromed Energy Partnership

Magazine article Europe-East

Energy : Conference Breathes New Life into Euromed Energy Partnership

Article excerpt

Ministers from EU member states and Mediterranean partner countries launched a new energy partnership on 18 December. This fifth Euro-Mediterranean Energy Ministerial Conference, taking place in Limassol, Cyprus, saw ministers and European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs endorse a 2008-2013 priority action plan for energy cooperation. Piebalgs promised that a "good share" of 3.2 billion in EuroMed money could be channelled, over the next four years, into meeting the energy priorities.

The action plan sets out priority infrastructure projects in the hope of triggering finance by international financial institutions. The European Commission will finance "its" share, noted Piebalgs. However, "substantial" investments will be required from national budgets. There should also be "appropriate" involvement of the private sector. The action plan has three main focuses: 1. harmonisation of energy markets and legislation as well as greater integration of energy markets in the EuroMed region; 2. a sustainable energy sector; and 3. key initiatives, including infrastructure extension, investment financing and research and development.

Under the first priority, concerning harmonisation of energy markets, ministers committed to "further support and accelerate the ongoing reforms" in the southern Mediterranean. This includes maintaining a "regular" Euro-Mediterranean dialogue on energy policy - the last meeting of EuroMed energy ministers took place back in December 2003 in Rome. …

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