European Commission proposes strategy for EU's external relations in energy (UPDATE)

European Commission proposes strategy for EU's external relations in energy (UPDATE)

Details added after the second abstract

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 22 /Trend, A.Badalova/

The neighbors of the European Union will play an increasingly important role in ensuring energy supply and transit to the EU, said a joint statement by European Commissioner for energy Günther Oettinger and European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle.

The EU Delegation to Azerbaijan publicized this statement on Thursday.

"Alongside improving our internal cohesion and coordination in this field, the strategy identifies stable and long-term partnerships with countries both to EU's East and South as a key priority," the Commissioners said in joint statement.

According to Commissioners, the neighbours of EU have a huge potential for the production of renewable energy. The European Union is very dependent on its neighbouring countries for energy.

"We import over 60% of our gas, mostly from our neighbourhood. Not only will these imports grow as our own production decreases, but our neighbours have also a huge potential for the production of renewable energy," the article reads.

The EU is as much affected by the level of environmental protection, safety and sustainability that is pursued beyond the borders as by European own rules, the Commissioners say.

"Unsustainable energy systems, from an environmental or financial point of view, have a direct impact on the EU," the article reads.

The EU's aim is to create an integrated energy market that includes the wider neighbourhood, based on a comparable set of rules, while respecting our neighbours specific needs and priorities, the Commissioners say. This includes expanding and diversifying links between our own energy infrastructure network and that of neighbouring countries.

"We have a lot to offer to our neighbours. An internal market of some 500 million consumers, a world-leading energy technology industry, cutting-edge research in renewable energy, stable, transparent and legally binding energy policy framework" the article says. "This means that our partners can gain from cooperating with the EU just as much as we can".

The benefits extend beyond the energy field, Oettinger and Füle believe. EU's cooperation with its neighbours has to reflect the realities of each particular partner and should address a wide range of topics - from regulatory cooperation to market transparency, from hydrocarbons to energy efficiency, from sustainable energy to research and innovation.

The EU calls for comprehensive and mutually beneficial partnership with its Neighbourhood.

"This is the only way to proceed in the already interlinked energy reality that we operate in and the only way to ensure that the region comprising the EU and its neighbours moves toward a more sustainable, secure and safe energy future," the Commissioners said in their statement.

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