17.03.2016 | Brussels, Belgium
On 17 March 2016 a high-level conference on energy cooperation with the countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood and Central Asia marked the end of the EU-funded Energy Cooperation Programme INOGATE that lasted for 20 years. On this occasion the European Commission confirmed that energy remains the EU’s priority for future relations with these countries. A new EU regional energy cooperation programme is expected to start in May 2016, according to Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice President of the Energy Union.
The EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, who hosted the conference, referred to the recent review of Neighbourhood Policy where, he said, the EU have made stabilisation the key goal for the next few years. 'Energy is key to stabilisation and fundamental to economic development and the quality of the daily life of citizens', highlighted Hahn.
European Commission Vice President of the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič announced the new four year regional energy cooperation programme between EU, its Neighbourhood and Central Asia. 'The Energy Union leverages on the impressive results of 20 years of energy cooperation with the EU's neighbours. Our vision for the future is to take this mutually-beneficial cooperation to the next phase, promoting energy security and sustainability in line with the Energy Union Strategy and the Paris Agreement', said Šefčovič.
The one-day conference brought together 200 participants, including high-level representatives from the EU, the partner countries of the INOGATE Programme, international financial institutions, think tanks, the private sector and academia. EC states in its press release that the participants agreed that a regional approach to future energy cooperation should continue, adding that the new programme should transfer know-how and best practices in the same way it was done in the framework of the INOGATE Programme.
The EC reports that it has allocated EUR 20 million for the new regional energy cooperation programme that will last between 2016 and 2020 and continue to work with all 11 partner countries. The new programme will take into account the different energy aspirations of these countries and will be implemented mainly through international bodies such as International Energy Agency, Energy Community Secretariat and Energy Charter.