The European Commission published, on 10 January, an unprecedented Energy Package, made up of around a dozen strategic documents that cover a series of themes linked to the Community's energy policy.

The strategy that the Commission will propose works on the principle that energy consumption will increase drastically and that it will be necessary to set up the means to meet this expected rise in demand. All this must be done while limiting as far as possible the Community's CO2 emissions, in view of the fact that the "EU's current energy policy is not sustainable". So the Commission is proposing nothing short of a new industrial revolution' to move to a low carbon economy. The aim here is not to fundamentally revise the manner in which energy is used but rather to invest massively in new energy technologies (biofuels, especially second-generation ones, renewable sources for electricity and heating/air conditioning, hydrogen, fourth-generation nuclear fission, thermonuclear fusion, carbon capture and storage) and infrastructure (interconnections, external supply routes).

Two figures were kept back right to the end because they were so hotly contested. The target of renewable energies accounting for 20% of European energy production by 2020 and the target of reducing CO2 emissions (-20%) by the same date. Then there is the target for the share of biofuels, which is 10% by 2020. These highly political objectives were the subject of lively debate within the Commission, which has been under great pressure from industry and environmental NGOs.

The external energy policy is of course part of the equation. And in this case, the Commission's proposed strategy goes further than that of the Council, since it proposes a list ofaactions to be started immediately with a whole series of countries, regions and organisations (without however proposing anything concrete with the OPEC or Gulf countries) in order to extend the EU's sphere of influence on the global energy sector.


The vague wishes to take firm action on the problems faced by the liberalisation of the electricity and gas markets are gradually being changed into good intentions: the Commission has now given itself three years to see if the internal energy market can work correctly. To that end, it is proposing two options to separate the network activities of the vertically integrated companies (mainly the incumbents, which are clearly accused of closing their national markets)...

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