Energy and climate change: Towards an integrated EU policy


At a landmark summit in December 2008, EU leaders reached agreement over an energy and climate change 'package' to deliver the bloc's ambitious objectives of slashing greenhouse-gas emissions and boosting renewable energies by 20% by 2020. The package is designed to reduce the Union's dependency on imported fuels and set the pace of "a new global industrial revolution".

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The Commission opened a wide-ranging debate on a future European energy policy with the publication of a Green Paper in March 2006. The paper was published upon EU leaders' suggestion at the Hampton Court summit during the UK Presidency in autumn 2005 (EurActiv Links Dossier on Green Paper).

The need to act at EU level was prompted by mounting concerns regarding high oil and gas prices and worries about Europe's increasing dependency on a few external suppliers, as well as the global-warming crisis.

As a follow up to the Green Paper, the Commission unveiled a 'package' of energy and climate change proposals on 10 January 2007 in a move which, it said, would "set the pace for a new global industrial revolution" and increase EU resilience to future oil-price shocks.

The European Parliament endorsed a compromise agreement on the package on 17 December 2008, which will be adopted by the Council this year.