The challenges of climate change and the tensions in the global energy market have led the European Union to set ambitious energy management objectives as part of the Europe 2020 strategy1.Furthermore, supporting the "transition towards a low carbon economy" is among the EU priority topics for the planning period 2014-2020.
The effective contribution of the EU funds will be needed to achieve these objectives for energy and climate, particularly the binding annual targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions imposed on Member States for the period 2013-2020 within the framework of the Decision on the distribution of efforts
(Decision No 406/2009/EC).
In February 2015, the European Commission adopted the "Energy Union and Climate" package, which sets out a strategic framework for a resilient common area. The strategy is made up of five interdependent political dimensions:
- "Energy security, solidarity and trust
- A fully integrated European energy market,
- Energy efficiency;
- Decarbonising the economy,
- Research, Innovation and Competitiveness".
Neither the climate nor energy knows borders. However, policies are being implemented first within national frameworks, which are nowadays very different and even divergent.
While EU policies acknowledge the key role of local authorities, it does not take the cross-border level into account enough.
Cross-border territories must cope with difficulties in planning, different stimuli, and intervention policies on both sides of the boundaries depending on the local, regional, and even national levels.
The economic crisis has pushed local authorities toward strengthening their sustainable development policies within their territories and even within their organisation :
- Taking energy insecurity into account.
- Promoting sustainable energies.
- Creating action plans for energy.
- Developing smarts grids, etc.
As many strategies and actions that we should take over in cooperation with our neighbours.
- The so-called 20/20/20 objectives can be summed up as follows: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 % (compared to 1990 levels); increasing to a 20% share of energy from renewable sources; moving towards a 20% increase in energy efficiency.
See also the Communication from the Commission entitled “A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050” (COM(2011)112 final) and the numerous specific directives.
Photo copyright: European Union, 2013