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Energy: Strengthening solidarity between Central and South-Eastern European Countries

Cooperation under the Commission Initiative on Central and South-Eastern European Energy Connectivity (CESEC), launched in 2015, is yielding results by strengthening solidarity and enabling a safer and more affordable gas supply to citizens and business across the region. Today’s fourth CESEC High Level Group Ministerial meeting [1] in Bucharest constitutes a landmark moment for the entire region, bringing new dimensions to the solidarity needed to address the energy challenges faced in this part of Europe.

Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: “Cooperation under the CESEC umbrella has turned into an exemplary success story, proving that solidarity is the solution. Given its rapid accomplishments in the field of gas, we are expanding the scope of the cooperation in the region to electricity, renewables and energy efficiency. It will therefore cover all dimensions of this project of European solidarity that is Energy Union. I am grateful to all those involved in making this cooperation come true. It is a positive and powerful message to citizens of the region, with benefits going beyond the energy systems.”

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Thanks to the high level political commitment we have witnessed today, and to the smart mobilisation of EU funds, we will continue to complete the energy infrastructure the region needs. By extending CESEC’s scope beyond gas, we will ensure effective access to alternative sources of energy, promote competition and lower prices, while also decarbonising the region’s economies.”

The Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which complements the existing CESEC initiative The MoU includes a joint approach on electricity markets, energy efficiency and renewable development. It also incorporates a list of priority projects to build an interconnected regional electricity market, as well as specific actions to boost renewables and investment in energy efficiency in a region with vast growth potential in these areas. National roadmaps for improving trading arrangements in the region were also agreed.

In addition, the Connecting Europe Facility Grant Agreement for the Krk LNG Terminal in Croatia was initialled. Looking ahead, Ministers reconfirmed their commitment to rapidly complete the remaining CESEC priority gas projects, and adopted an updated action plan on gas market and regulatory aspects setting out progress made since September 2016.

Finally, the meeting also saw thelaunchof two new working groups of the gas transmission system operators: one on the implementation of reverse flow on the Trans-Balkan pipeline system, and the other on the so-called “Vertical Corridor” between Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Hungary; both to be facilitated by the European Commission.,


In 2014 the Commission’s ‘stress tests’ revealed a region extremely vulnerable to a cut in gas supply by its largest, and often sole, supplier. Moreover, consumers have historically paid significantly more for their gas in this region compared to Central Western Europe. To solve these problems, the Commission launched the CESEC Initiative in 2015, with the aim of guaranteeing that all countries in Central and South Eastern Europe (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) have access to a more varied mix of energy sources, and are properly interconnected to the rest of Europe. CESEC has proven instrumental in the process of integrating the region’s gas markets and has thus become a central channel for further consolidation across the energy sector.

The CESEC ongoing priority gas projects are: the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (gas pipeline from Greece to Italy via Albania and the Adriatic sea); the Interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria; the Interconnector between Bulgaria and Serbia; the reinforcement of the Bulgarian transmission system; the reinforcement of the Romanian transmission system (part of the “BRUA” corridor); the LNG terminal in Krk, Croatia; and the LNG evacuation system towards Hungary. Other possible projects include: a connection of off-shore Romanian gas to the Romanian grid and enhancement of the national system; a new Greek LNG terminal; and the interconnection between Croatia and Serbia.

In September 2016, in Budapest, CESEC’s scope of cooperation was expanded further to include electricity, energy efficiency and renewable energies, recognising it makes no sense to address gas in isolation and that the key to security of supply in the region is a comprehensive energy strategy. Examples of electricity priority projects include: the enhancement of the transmission capacity between Bulgaria, Romania and Greece; the enhancement of the transmission capacity along the East-West corridor from Italy to Romania via the Balkans; electricity connections between Hungary and Serbia; and infrastructures supporting the integration of the Ukraine and Moldova power systems into the European electricity market. With regards to renewables in CESEC countries, an assessment of the renewable energy potential in the region by 2030 and 2050 will be carried out and best practices and financing tools for the development of renewable energies will be promoted. On energy efficiency, the focus will be on financing and the use of financial instruments to mobilise private financing as well as on ways to support the development of projects.

For more information


Energy Union

[1] The meeting brings together Ministers from 9 EU Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia) and from 8 Energy Community Contracting Parties (FYROM, Serbia, Ukraine, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Moldova).

RECORDED Third Central Eastern and South-Eastern European Gas Connectivity (CESEC) High Level Group Meeting, Budapest

Press Releases: U.S.-EU Energy Council

The text of the following statement was issued by the U.S.-EU Energy Council.

Begin Text:

The seventh United States-European Union Energy Council met today in Washington, D.C., chaired by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, EU High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic and European Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete. Minister for the Environment of the Netherlands Sharon Dijksma represented the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Energy Council, a forum on U.S.-EU energy priorities, promotes transparent, open and secure global energy markets; fosters policy and regulatory cooperation on efficient and sustainable energy use; and pursues joint research and development on clean energy and energy efficiency technologies. Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, the Energy Council also constitutes a platform for transatlantic dialogue on how to accelerate the clean energy transition in line with the ambition to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

Bolstering Energy Security and Markets and Combatting Energy Vulnerabilities

The Council reaffirmed that energy security, through access to reliable, affordable, diversified, efficient and sustainable energy in the United States and Europe, remains a fundamental objective. The Council emphasized it is unacceptable to use energy as a political weapon and underscored its commitment to work together to improve energy diversification in the EU and its neighboring countries, including ensuring adequate market-based alternatives in terms of energy sources, suppliers, transportation routes, and demand-side management. The Council also underlined the importance of ensuring that global energy markets are open, transparent and liquid, and affirmed that enhancing transatlantic regulatory cooperation would help progress towards this goal.

The Council recognized that new supplies and suppliers, combined with diversified supply routes and sources, greater levels of interconnection, increased indigenous energy production, third-party access to gas transmission and storage facilities, access to LNG, as well as energy efficiency measures, will be critical to meeting the EU’s energy security objectives. In this respect, the development and better use of interconnections (including bi-directional), regasification and storage infrastructure is essential. It noted the importance of continuing efforts to swiftly implement EU Projects of Common Interest, particularly in Southeast and Central Eastern Europe, the Iberian Peninsula and the Baltic and Mediterranean regions, including interconnections to peripheral and vulnerable regions, and to complete internal market reforms. The Council also recognized the importance of respecting market needs when designing infrastructure and of open and predictable procedures to facilitate private sector investment and other participation in these projects, including by EU and U.S. companies. With a view to contributing to energy security in the gas market in the EU, the Council concurred that any new infrastructure should entirely comply with the Third Energy Package and other applicable EU legislation as well as with the objectives of the Energy Union. The Council reiterated its strong support for the opening of the Southern Gas Corridor, including the construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and underscored the importance of the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector and the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, in Croatia (with evacuation pipelines), as well as in Greece if there is market demand. The Council recognized that the abovementioned infrastructure improvements would play a critical role in bringing alternative gas supplies into the Southeast and Central European region. The Council also acknowledged the potential of the Iberian Peninsula as an important gas entry point for the EU, as well as the Baltic connector and the Poland-Lithuania gas interconnector, which would bring essential alternative gas supplies to Finland and the Baltic States. In the electricity sector, the Council recognized the importance of fully integrating the Baltic States into the EU’s internal energy market and welcomed the completion of the Lithuania-Poland and Lithuania-Sweden power interconnections in December 2015.

The Council welcomed the lifting of U.S. crude oil export restrictions in 2015 and the commencement of U.S. LNG exports from the Gulf Coast in 2016, as they are important milestones for global energy markets that can also help improve security of supply globally and in Europe. The Council noted that the United States has already approved significant volumes of LNG exports to non-FTA countries and has applications for additional volumes currently under review. The United States is expected to become a significant natural gas exporter before the end of the current decade. The Council recognized the potential of the new gas resources in the Black Sea, the Caspian Basin, North Africa, and the Eastern Mediterranean for the energy security of the EU and the wider region. The Council stressed the need to respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of EU Member States to explore and exploit their natural resources and stands ready to facilitate the development of these resources and corresponding infrastructure, underlining the need to respect international law.

The Council reaffirmed its commitment to the G-7 Principles of Energy Security endorsed by G-7 leaders at the Brussels and Elmau Summits in 2014 and 2015 as well as the commitment to provide energy sector support to Ukraine and other vulnerable countries. The Council stressed the role of Ukraine as an important natural gas transit country to the EU. Ensuring sufficient and diversified fuel supplies, including in the electricity sector, for Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and other vulnerable countries, remains a key priority for the United States and the European Union, and the Council welcomed their efforts to this end. The Council welcomed the close cooperation among the United States, the European Union and Canada to support Ukraine in developing a winter contingency plan, as well as the medium- and long-term efforts to improve Ukraine’s energy security. The Council underlined its support for the continuing reform of Ukraine’s energy sector, and for enhancing and making more transparent the legal, fiscal and policy framework and improving transparency in the context of the progressive integration of Ukraine into the European energy market. The Council noted the importance of Ukraine’s maintaining reform momentum and strengthening the implementation of energy sector reforms in line with its commitments under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the Energy Community, including those as established with the concurrence of the IMF, World Bank, EBRD and EIB. In particular, the Council supported adjustments in energy prices to move closer to reflecting costs, adoption of legislation creating an independent regulator, an electricity market law, and progress in unbundling its state oil and gas company, Naftogaz, in particular by establishing co-operation between Naftogaz and the European TSOs to develop common standards for the operation of the Ukrainian gas network. These efforts can help encourage the necessary investments that will increase domestic production of both natural gas and renewable energy, enhance Ukraine’s gas storage capacity and address the significant potential for energy efficiency. The Council also acknowledges the EU and U.S. contributions to Ukraine’s energy security by enabling reverse flows of natural gas to Ukraine and welcomes the progress made in the construction of the gas interconnector between Romania and the Republic of Moldova.

The Council recognized the importance of regulatory cooperation to ensure effective market functioning and to realize key infrastructure projects. The Council welcomed the existing regulatory cooperation between the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) concerning the supervision and oversight of the wholesale energy markets. The Council looks forward to further strengthening of regulatory co-operation in areas of mutual interest and the signing of the Administrative Arrangement between the FERC and the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission concerning cooperation and the exchange of information related to the field of wholesale energy market regulation.

The Council took note of the ongoing work to complete the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and the opportunity it presents to promote high standards for liberalized global trade and investment. In this context, the Council recognized T-TIP’s potential to foster free trade in energy and low carbon technologies by diminishing trade and investment restrictions, promoting cooperation and regulatory coherence, and enhancing transparency. The Council also recognized the potential for T-TIP to improve cooperation on technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment, while protecting the rights of our respective governments to regulate to ensure secure, viable, efficient, open, and competitive energy markets, and high levels of health, safety and environmental protection.

The Council underlined the importance of nuclear safety and related research around the world, including U.S.-EU cooperation under the existing U.S. DOE-Euratom nuclear research cooperation agreements. The Council commends the close coordination of U.S. and EU authorities on the global promotion of nuclear safety including the recent Nuclear Security Summit and through the G7 initiatives on Chornobyl and Ukraine, among others. The 30-year commemoration of the accident at Chornobyl on April 26 and the upcoming EU activities on nuclear legacies in Central Asia highlight the dedication of the parties to ensuring continuing advances in nuclear safety. In this context, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the promotion and implementation of the highest levels of standards of nuclear safety as well as independent and effective regulatory practices in third countries with civil nuclear programs and emphasized the role of the IAEA in strengthening international cooperation and information exchange.

The Council recognized the increasing cyber security risks and vulnerabilities to energy infrastructure in the United States and Europe. The Council highlighted U.S.-EU efforts under the G-7 Energy Ministerial to advance cooperation with universities, research institutions and the private sector to promote the development of resilient energy systems capable of effective responses to emerging cyber threats.

The Council noted that the Joint Caribbean-EU Partnership Strategy and the U.S. Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI), and the Caribbean and Central American Energy Security Task Force, as well as work under the Africa-EU Energy Partnership, the Power Africa initiative and Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), could serve as productive vehicles for collaboration in support of energy vulnerable regions. This includes meeting Sustainable Development Goal 7 (ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all). In this context, the Council committed to cooperate in accelerating access to renewable energy in Africa and developing countries in other regions, building on existing work and initiatives with a view to reducing energy poverty, increasing electricity access and mobilizing substantial financial resources from private investors, development finance institutions, and multilateral development banks.

Transformation to a Clean Energy Economy and Achieving Climate Change Objectives

The Council welcomed as a vital breakthrough the adoption of the Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015 in Paris, and its signature by more than 170 parties on April 22, 2016 in New York. Recognizing that urgent and effective action is needed to address the threat of climate change, the Council committed to work towards addressing climate change.

The Council underlined the importance of the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement and urged all Parties to the UNFCCC to begin their domestic processes in order to ratify, accept or approve the Paris agreement as soon as possible, stressing the need for inclusiveness in decision-making and the importance for countries to transparently implement their nationally determined contributions.

Acknowledging the role of the High Ambition Coalition in the achievement of the Paris Agreement, the Council determined to continue cooperation commitment and momentum for climate action within this grouping of nations, while also seeking closer cooperation with Parties willing to raise the level of ambition of global climate action. The Council recognized the importance of the ongoing provision and mobilization of finance and technical assistance to those countries most in need, such as that under the Power Africa Initiative and Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, and strongly supports the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, including its focus on mobilizing all stakeholders.

The Council underscored the necessity of close U.S.-EU coordination to implement the commitments made at COP 21 in Paris, and acknowledged the essential role of clean and sustainable energy policies and technologies to meet these commitments. Furthermore, the Council committed to working towards addressing climate change, including by developing and deploying innovative technologies for the transformation of the energy sector by 2050, and to moving toward long-term national low-emission development.

The Council emphasized that the United States and the European Union can learn from each other’s best practices as well as work together to assist other countries in meeting their clean energy and climate targets. The Council recognizes the Clean Energy Ministerial as an important mechanism to facilitate implementation of COP21 commitments through sharing of best practices and coordination between the United States, the European Union and other major economies with forward-leaning clean energy strategies. The Council noted the importance of the second installment of the U.S. Quadrennial Energy Review, which is expected to assess the state of, and consider prospects for, the further development of the U.S. electricity sector in its totality.

The Council stressed that addressing climate change through scaling up clean, safe, secure and sustainable energy and energy efficiency is a critical component of a country’s security and economic development. In this respect, the Council specifically recognized that the creation of the appropriate enabling environment is a priority in both developed and emerging economies. In addition, by helping countries create enabling environments and establish trajectories to meet their clean energy goals, the United States and the European Union are working to generate momentum for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, and to build confidence that Nationally Determined Contributions can be met and over time, be made more ambitious, in order to make progress toward the long-term goal agreed in Paris. The Council intends to explore the possibilities of cooperation between the DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative and European Commission programs designed to manage the increasing share of renewable energy into the electricity grid.

The Council also emphasized the need for a substantial increase in public-private investment in research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects to accelerate the implementation of low-carbon energy and energy efficiency technologies and clean energy commitments. Recognizing the long-standing energy-research collaboration between the United States and the European Union, the Council welcomed efforts under Mission Innovation and the independent Breakthrough Energy Coalition to accelerate research and innovation in clean energy technology development as a significant outcome of COP21 and a critical enabler of increasing climate ambition over time. The Council committed to the long-term objective of encouraging effective energy policies and actions throughout the global economy, including facilitation of investments and contributions from the private sector. It also welcomed the upcoming signing of a Collaboration Arrangement between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission regarding Research and Development in Energy-Related Fields.

The Council underscored that in order to achieve a sustainable, secure and affordable supply of energy globally, it is necessary to be ambitious in promoting safe and environmentally sound low-carbon technologies. The Council welcomed the energy goal within the catalogue of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The United States and the European Union strongly support universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services, and improvements in energy efficiency within the framework of the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 7. The Council noted the importance of market designs and infrastructure adaptations for electricity that are conducive to further integration of renewable energy resources into the grid.

The Council also welcomed the continued sharing of information in the following policy areas: LNG markets, smart grids, indigenous resources and Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCS), and noted the success of the joint U.S.-EU Electric Vehicle and Smart Grid Interoperability Centers.

The Council sees particular benefits in increased cooperation on energy efficiency, especially for globally traded products with a high energy savings potential. Where appropriate and allowed by law, this could involve alignment of test and measurement procedures, the convergence of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), and joint outreach to other jurisdictions on the benefits and best practices of MEPS and energy labels, making use of relevant existing multilateral cooperation initiatives. This approach has been successfully implemented in the area of e-vehicles and smart grids, aligning priorities of public and private stakeholders to produce an agreed set of test procedures and standards on vehicle to grid communications, for example. The Council recognized the importance of exchanging best practices on energy efficiency in the buildings and transport sectors and intends to promote global commitment and cooperation on these issues in international fora.

Additionally, the Council underlined the importance of G20 countries phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies over the medium term.

Acknowledging the contributions of transport in the generation of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, the Council welcomed the new 21st Century Clean Transportation System initiative of the United States. The Council also underlined its support for efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation and international shipping sectors, in the context of the discussions within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), including for the adoption of a global market based measure to enable carbon neutral growth in international aviation from 2020 at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly meeting in September and the adoption of a global data collection system and continuation of discussions on further action at the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee meeting in October. Highlighting the continued need for action on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the Council also underlined the importance of adopting a Montreal Protocol phasedown amendment in 2016 that will contribute to improved appliance energy efficiency. Given the central role of the transport sector, common standards should be adopted in the medium term order to improve fuel quality, energy efficiency and emissions performance of heavy-duty vehicles, considering also the contribution of alternative fuels (such as natural gas, biomethane and sustainable biofuels).

The Council reiterated the importance of utilizing multilateral institutions to foster international energy cooperation, including the G-7, the G-20, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Energy Charter Treaty, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century and the Clean Energy Ministerial. The Council affirmed the importance of concluding an ambitious WTO Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) by the G-20 Leaders meeting in September in Hangzhou that eliminates tariffs on a broad range of clean energy and environmental technologies. In addition, the Council discussed opportunities for cooperation in promoting clean and sustainable energy in other parts of the world, including mobilizing the long-term investments needed to transition to low-carbon economies. In this context, the Council took note of the work being carried out in the framework of the Clean Energy Ministerial and the Major Economies Forum, and the outcomes of the G-7 Energy Ministerial meeting in Japan on May 1-2, 2016.

The Council acknowledged the importance of research in the energy sector as agreed in the Joint Statement of the Energy Council of December 2014. The Council also acknowledged the importance of research in systems and technologies in the transport sector, as well as in fusion where ITER is a significant multilateral long-term research project. The Council noted the outcome of the Extraordinary ITER Council held in Paris on 27 April 2016.

The Council decided to establish a Climate Change Working Group, alongside the existing working groups on energy security, technology and policy. This working group will seek to increase and improve transatlantic cooperation bilaterally, as well as within multilateral and global settings, with a view to catalyzing and accelerating international efforts for the attainment of climate-related goals, and is mandated by the Council to hold its first meeting before the end of 2016.

Europe and Eurasia: Remarks With EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. My apologies to all for our being a little bit late. We just ran a little bit behind, and Federica and I had an opportunity to have a meeting and unfortunately got interrupted even in that, but I appreciate everybody’s patience. I’m very, very honored to be joined by the United States co-chair, my colleague-in-mischief here, Ernie Moniz, and —


SECRETARY KERRY: And worse. (Laughter.) And my good friend – our good friend, the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, who’s been a great partner on so many vital issues, as I just described to people publicly – from Iran to Ukraine to climate change to Syria and the T-TIP and so forth. We seem to have a massive amount of our global agenda contained in the relationships here in this room, which speaks volumes to the strength of the EU-U.S. partnership in general, and I know people in certain countries take note of that because I think it’s important.

I also want to thank Vice President Sefcovic and Commissioner Arias Canete for their help and leadership in advancing the clean energy agenda, both for Europe as well as all the rest of us on this planet. And I’m particularly happy to welcome Minister Dijksma here of the Netherlands. Their partnership has also been very, very key.

This is the seventh meeting of the U.S.-EU Energy Council, and I might comment simply that this – the creation of the council was one of the first actions of the Obama Administration in 2009 because the President wanted to put a significant focus on energy. It remains an issue of strategic importance to the United States and I think to everybody at this table and is a key pillar of our engagement with those of you who are assembled here.

Now, all of us have made this council a very top priority and we’ve done so for a very simple reason: because energy security and the flight against – fight against climate change are directly connected not only to the protection of our environment, but obviously to issues of economic growth and of geopolitical stability and global security. So these two central issues are linked to one another in ways that everybody here understands fully, and I don’t need to go through all of that.

But the choices we can make will have a profound impact on all of our economies, and I guess if it weren’t for the nature of some of the discourse in my own country it would go without saying that it is profoundly important to resolving the issue of climate change, where the most significant thing in terms of the United States at this moment of the gathering of some 200 countries signing on the other day is that there’s no longer any dispute in the rest of the world about whether or not this is happening. And I hope certain folks take note of that.

Since our last gathering in December of 2014, we’ve made some gains in securing the flow of energy to Central Europe, to Southeast Europe, and to the Baltics. And we’ve seen greater integration throughout the European energy market, which is really important. It’s one of the goals we set and we talked about in Brussels and throughout the last few years.

We’ve helped Ukraine reduce its dependency on Russia for gas. And for the first time this past winter, Ukraine received more natural gas from Europe than from Russia, which shows what can happen when you put a strategy in place. In the past month, the United States exported our first LNG cargoes around the world, including to Europe, and I just got notice the other day from Amos Hochstein that one of them, I think, has made port. And so this is now a big step forward.

Meanwhile, in Paris, the U.S. and the EU led the effort, I’m happy to say, to complete this important signal to the marketplace that is really what comes out of Paris. We all know we didn’t – we were never going to be able to get to the point where everybody signed on to a mandatory set of mandatory reductions and targets that guaranteed that you’re going to hit the 2 degrees centigrade target. But knowing that, we also understood the importance of coming together to set the signal to the marketplace about the trillions of dollars that are going to be spent on alternative renewable clean energy and the clean energy future. And I was honored to join Maros, Miguel, and Sharon and representatives from over the 170 countries that actually wound up signing.

In our meetings today, we’re going to take stock on the progress that we’re making. We’re going to try to focus on what’s next. We want to have an unstilted, open kind of dialogue, and try to not just move forward with the implementation of the Paris agreement, but expand the use of clean energy worldwide and thereby bolster energy independence in the EU, as well as find new ways to assist Ukraine. And we’re also going to discuss one other specific issue of deep concern to me and to everybody here, and I think that’s the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. This project has provoked a very heated debate on both sides of the Atlantic, and we are convinced would absolutely have an adverse impact on Ukraine, on Slovakia, and Eastern Europe. And we cannot lose sight of that.

Clearly, there is therefore a lot on our agenda, and I’m delighted now to yield the floor to the High Representative of the EU Federica Mogherini.

HIGH REPRESENTATIVE MOGHERINI: Thank you, John. It’s really a pleasure to be here. Thank you, Ernie, all the other friends and colleagues, first of all, for hosting this council here in Washington after the last time we met in Brussels in – just after a few days after we started, actually, our mandates.

And I have to say also thank you for the excellent cooperation we have on a daily basis on a full range of issues. Foreign policy is the one we experience every day, John and I, but also our colleagues and friends in every single sector of our work on the two sides of the Atlantic. We are for each other a key partner and our partnership is vital for the rest of the world. And we have, I think, demonstrated that very clearly with our work on climate change when we managed to build consensus around the agreements that just last week 170 countries and organizations signed in New York, but also something else on which we work together with John and Ernie so much, the Iranian deal. If we think of all the things we have achieved in the last years, we’ve done that together. And I think this says a lot about the strength of our partnership and the relevance of it for our people and for the rest of the world.

Today the two topics we’ll deal with – energy on one side and climate change on the other – are of fundamental importance for our people both in America and in Europe. And sometimes we refer to these issues as something relevant for the future generations, and this is for sure true. I think I saw you signing the deal with your granddaughter. But it is also relevant for the presence of our countries, of our people, and this is why we will focus today and also in the future on our joint responsibility to work together on the implementation of the agreement we managed to shape last year. Because we know that when Europe and America work together on something as important as that, there is really the possibility for change, because the real thing is that, yes, climate change is happening now, but we can change climate change and this is our responsibility. And the time is now. No time to lose.

The same sense of urgency inspires our work on energy security. John said it very well. We have established maybe for the first time in a very much joined-up approach an energy strategy for the European Union that considers also the external aspects of it as geopolitical elements but also elements of security for Europe. That means establishing a fully liberalized and interconnected energy market for Europe, diversifying our fuels, our suppliers, and our supply routes following this coherent energy union strategy.

And both our union and the United States believe that we have to prevent energy from being used as a political weapon, as we are very well aware that energy resources are still a major source of conflict, and together we believe we can lead the way towards 21st century rules for trade in energy. And part of our discussion today will be on the next steps to agree on such rules.

We also work together, as John underlined, to support our friends in our region starting from Ukraine and to responsibly develop energy infrastructure and resources in other parts of the world that are close to Europe. I think of the Mediterranean, Africa, but also Central and Southeast Europe, Central Asia. This is a common work that we are trying to develop together.

But through our cooperation we can help energy-insecure countries all across the globe, and this is also part of our investment in global security – for instance, fostering sustainable development in Africa and in the Caribbean – and I know that you’re dealing with that with our Caribbean friends right in these days. If you put together Europe and America, we have the best scientists, some of them sitting at the table, the best engineers, the best innovators worldwide. And together we can truly make a difference to protect our planet while also creating new jobs, investing on clean energy, in technologies, and in energy efficiency. And we feel this responsibility.

Moreover, we have here apparently a sort of climate week going on in Washington. The European Union has promoted the Going Green Conference. We have the Climate Action Summit in the next two days. And we are sure that we can make something profitable out of that. We want to make this more concrete, and we know that, again, as the European Union and America have managed to build consensus in the world on a very ambitious – revolutionary, I would say – climate change agreement, we feel this common global responsibility on our shoulders to continue our cooperation in practical terms to make this happen for real in these coming months, not necessarily years.

I thank you very much and I think I give the floor to Ernie in a full, cooperative spirit. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Before Ernie starts, can I just tell you, because you were sweet enough to mention my granddaughter who sat on my lap – so she sat on my lap as I wrote my name with my right hand, and when I took her back and delivered her to her mother, she said, “I no draw on paper.” (Laughter.) She was very upset. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY MONIZ: Well, that’s great. And that just reminds me, John, being together with you and Federica again makes me miss 2015. It was such a great year. (Laughter.)

HIGH REPRESENTATIVE MOGHERINI: We have to do that again. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY MONIZ: And also, welcome again our friends —

SECRETARY KERRY: Christmas at the Coburg.

SECRETARY MONIZ: Our friends – we have some jokes we cannot mention in the current – in current situation. And Maros and Miguel – actually, Federica, you mentioned climate week here, but I would argue that we are at the beginning of the U.S.-EU climate and security month, having just returned with Miguel from Japan for G7 plus EU energy ministers. Today, then later, in June 1st and 2nd in San Francisco – and Maros will be there – the clean energy ministerial and the Mission Innovation meetings I think just shows the intensity of what we are doing to follow through on our energy security commitments, but also to now really launch on this road from Paris in terms of implementation of the agreement.

I would just mention that in the energy security meeting in Japan, it brought back to us the energy security principles of the G7 and the EU two years ago, and just to start by emphasizing, as they did, the collective nature of energy security and how we are all in this together in terms of energy security. And there’s obviously no doubt that we are all in this together in terms of climate change.

I would just mention one other aspect of our work together, and that is the work on technology. In Paris, the first day of Paris, our leaders – leaders of 20 countries – the United States, many of the EU countries – announced Mission Innovation, in which we will all seek to double our energy R&D over five years, opening up the innovation pipeline to stimulate investments by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, led by Bill Gates, and others, to have those new technologies come into force – and I mean force – over these next years and decades.

In particular, I’d just say that if we look at the two meetings coming up in San Francisco that, again, we’ll all be engaged with, the clean energy ministerial in many ways is about deploying the technologies that we have successfully developed over these last years in these next years, while Mission Innovation will underpin the increased ambition that we will need going forward after the horizon of the Paris commitments.

So I think this is a well put together vision and one in which, as you said, the science and engineering capabilities of the United States and the European Union are going to be central to realizing this – not only for ourselves, but for all of our colleagues around the world, in developed and developing countries. So I certainly look forward to discussions today in terms of the linked issues of security and climate. Thank you.

Speech by Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič at the High-level Conference “EU energy cooperation with the Eastern Neighbourhood and Central Asia”

Minister Kaladze, Minister Demchyshyn, my friend, Commissioner Hahn,

Colleagues from the EU institutions, Director General Ristori, Deputy SG Leffler, and Deputy DG Mathernová,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Looking around this room I can recognise some of the most prominent figures from the EU, Partner Countries, international financial institutions, think tanks, the private sector and academia. And such a gathering is timely and appropriate as we have a good reason to celebrate. INOGATE, as you all know, is one of the longest running energy technical assistance programmes funded by the EU with a total amount of over €150 million. INOGATE paved the way to the Baku Initiative of 2004 and the Astana Ministerial Conference 2006.

I am sure you have had very interesting discussions this morning about these two decades of fruitful energy cooperation across the entire region of Europe, our eastern neighbours, and Central Asia.

Indeed, a lot has been achieved since the establishment of the INOGATE Technical Secretariat in Kiev back in the 1990’s. Since then INOGATE has worked on mapping and examining the infrastructure across the region, it has brought about the 1999 treaty for governing cross-border oil and gas transit, and it has strongly supported the EU’s sustainable energy initiatives when it comes to both renewables and energy efficiency. All in all, INOGATE implemented some 70 projects, bringing together hundreds of stakeholders across this vast area.

But INOGATE’s success is even more impressive when keeping in mind the geographic, political, and temporal scope of this cooperation. Think back on how our region looked when INOGATE started back in 1996; the EU consisted of 15 countries; the Dayton Agreement had just been signed, and many of our neighbours were newly-independent, some of which were in the midst of building their democratic institutions. Gas and oil prices in 1996 were actually similar to today’s but over the course of 20 years we have seen them fluctuate as never before. The existing infrastructure was by far less expansive, and of course available technologies were nowhere near what we have today. Back then, renewables energies were not on everybody’s lips and storage solutions hardly existed.

I am mentioning this in order to remind ourselves why it is time to refresh our cooperation framework, shake off the dust and align it with the geopolitical realities of 2016 and those of the years to come. Today we understand even better the difficulty to ensure energy security when depending on too few sources of energy supply. Today we better understand the devastating effects of pollution and CO2 emissions but we have also found alternative sources. Today, we are committed by the legally binding Paris Agreement to reduce CO2 emissions. This applies to the EU as well as our partners in the Eastern neighbourhood and Central Asia; it applies to the whole world.

The 20th anniversary of INOGATE therefore represents a turning a new page in our energy cooperation; by no means will we loosen our cooperation – but the mechanisms will be updated. We are concluding a very successful programme and introducing a new one to replace it. As you know we are about to launch the follow up to INOGATE in two months’ time and the new programme will last until 2020 with a budget of €21 million. The new programme will reflect the current reality I just described. We are making sure it’s future proof.

What does that mean in practice?

First, we are entrusting the continuation of the programme with the International Energy Agency, the Energy Community, and the Energy Charter. This is no coincidence, it is a sign of the level of trust and close relationship that the EU enjoys with these international organisations. It also insinuates the role that the EU plays today on international energy fora, as the largest energy importer in the world.

The new actions will focus on collecting comparable data which can feed into policy-making across our regions; on policy analysis and recommendations based on best practices and experiences; on improving our legislative and regulatory framework; and sharing all this information with all the relevant stakeholders.

And these actions are perfectly in line with the Energy Union Strategy which we published in February of last year, as the Energy Union is an outward looking project which places great importance on our relations with the EU’s partner countries. It is also perfectly in line with the Security of Supply Package which we published in February of this year, where a great deal of importance was placed on diversifying the EU’s energy sources, on ensuring legal coherence of our intergovernmental agreements and the transparency of contracts with our energy suppliers.

As you can see, our eastern neighbourhood and Central Asia play a central role in the Energy Union – which is one of the EU’s most strategic projects and top priorities. And the presence of senior officials from across the EU services here today shows the great implication of energy cooperation, not only our energy policy but also on our neighbourhood and foreign policy. And of course energy security impacts overall security including social security and leads eventually to economic growth and jobs and to political stability and resilience.

In this respect, it is worth noting that the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, which was conducted last year by Commissioner Hahn, devotes an entire chapter to energy security and climate action. It responds to the messages of political leaders expressed at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga in May 2015. It provides for better taking into account all security related aspects and the different socio-economic and political situation in EU partner countries when designing joint action.

I know that this partnership is as crucial for each of the partner countries. The pace of integration might be different, the political context may vary but we have come to join this common project out of recognition of its common benefit – to all its members.

Beyond mere interests, we also share values. Among those values are the commitments we all made last December in the Paris Agreement which I mentioned earlier. It is also about the principles set out in the Energy Union strategy, at the Riga Summit and in the ENP review: all of which emphasise the importance of diversification as a means to increase our security of supply.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In the past few months I have repeatedly said that 2016 would be a crucial year. If last year was about setting political objectives, adapting our policies, and crystallising one coherent over-arching strategy — this year is about delivering on all of those. It is therefore the Energy Union’s Year of Delivery; the year of new and follow-up initiatives like this regional cooperation which is evolving in shape and form.

This includes, of course other regional frameworks such as the Central Eastern and South-Eastern European Gas Connectivity (CESEC) which brings together 15 EU and Energy Community countries in joining forces to speed up the creation of missing gas infrastructure and creating conducive regulatory environment. CESEC will increase the competitiveness of the energy markets by allowing countries to diversify their sources and trade more among themselves. As you know, CESEC held its first summit in February 2015 and in July last year the participating countries already put forward a rigorous implementation roadmap. This year we will meet again in Budapest to take stock and agree on any remaining issues to solve.

East Med is another pipeline which the Commission has identified as a Project of Common Interest, given its potential to further diversify our sources. I have recently discussed its advancement with both Prime Minister Tsipras and Minister Lakkotrypis of Cyprus, both of whom are enthusiastic about the project.

Let me also say a word about Ukraine which I visited just two weeks ago. When meeting with Minister Demchyshyn who is with us today and with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and President Poroshenko, I reiterated the fact that we in the EU see Ukraine as an important transit country of Russian gas into the EU. This is enshrined in the Energy Union Strategy. I also called on the Ukrainian government to complete the reforms which are still pending and I am hopeful we will see major progress on this front during the first half of this year.

Finally, a very important area where I expect we make significant progress this year is the Southern Gas Corridor. This pipeline chain of 3,500 km whose value USD 45 Billion is one of the biggest construction projects of our times. With this, Europe will start receiving Caspian gas in 2020.

Of course, these infrastructure projects are part of our broader vision of an energy transition, of decarbonisation, of using innovation and new technologies in order to reduce our environmental footprint. In this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos they called it the Fourth Industrial Revolution. I am convinced that we can lead this revolution. And when I say ‘we’, I mean the EU together with our close partners in our neighbourhood and in Central Asia.

Let me conclude by saying that I want the new regional programme which is taking over many strands of activities from INOGATE, to open a new era of energy cooperation. It should be based on a real partnership and leading to better interconnections, to secure, reliable and affordable energy services and eventually to an energy transition towards low-carbon economies.

With the IEA, Energy Community and Energy Charter on board, we are in good hands. We have three implementing partners of very high expertise, good reputation and acceptance in all countries. The Commission has had very constructive cooperation and good experience with all three. I am therefore convinced that this will lead to tangible results with direct impact on the energy systems, the regional cooperation and to the benefit of the citizens of all 3 regions concerned.

I wish you all a productive afternoon programme of today’s conference and I wish us all very productive four years of cooperation ahead!

Thank you very much.