Neither the climate nor energy knows borders. However, policies are first being implemented within national frameworks, which are nowadays very different and even divergent. While EU policies acknowledge the key role of local authorities, they do not sufficiently take into account the cross-border level.
Cross-border territories must cope with difficulties in planning, and different incentive and intervention policies on either side of borders, depending on the level of governance concerned, be that local, regional, or national. In order to fulfil the objectives of the energy transition, local authorities are encouraged to strengthen their sustainable development policies within their territories and even within their organisations:
- taking energy insecurity into account,
- promoting sustainable energies,
- creating action plans for energy,
- developing smarts grids.
The energy transition concerns not only energy production, but also transport, spatial planning and the management of natural areas and natural hazards. Many strategies and initiatives can be undertaken in cross-border cooperation in this field.
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 strategy. Furthermore, supporting the "transition towards a low carbon economy" is among the EU priority topics for the planning period 2014-2020.
Photo copyright: European Union, 2013