The European commission wants to improve energysupply security in Europe while combating climate change and making the industry more competitive. To this end, it has tabled proposals to pave the way for a common European energy policy.
The proposals include a cut in CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020. The commission will propose increasing the use of renewable energy sources, to limit global temperature changes to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. It also wants to improve the EU's energy efficiency by 20%. This would make Europe the most energyefficient region in the world.
The fight against climate change goes hand-in-hand with greater security of energy supply for Europe - greater use of sustainable energy sources is one way dependence on external sources could be reduced.
Commission president Barrosoalso stressed the need for the EU to speak with one voice in dealing with its energy partners. Commenting on the RussiaBelarus oil row that led to an interruption in EU oil supplies, he said: "This situation adds urgency to our drive to boost our common energy policy. It is another demonstration, if it was necessary, that we need a common energy policy."
The commission therefore proposes to develop a coordinated approach to energy issues and to introduce effective energysharing mechanisms to deal rapidly with any future supply crises.
With the liberalisation of electricity and gas markets by 2009, the EU's energy sector should also become more competitive. The commission proposes a clearer separation of energy production from distribution. "A recent investigation on competition has shown that the status quo is not an option," Mr Barroso said.
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