European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has announced a new European green paper setting out a common energy policy for Europe.

Piebalgs highlighted concerns over security of supply and rising demand, leaving the EU ever more dependent on imported hydrocarbons and warned that massive investment is needed throughout the global energy system to meet future energy demand. In Europe alone, this could be as much as one trillion Euros over the next 20 years, he said. Piebalgs also emphasised the challenge of climate change. “To make its contribution to stabilising global climate change, the EU will need to reduce its CO2 emissions by at least 50% over the next decades. This is at a time when global emissions of CO2 are accelerating, and the EU is struggling to meet its existing emissions targets,” he said.

In order to address theses challenges, Piebalgs suggested that “if Europe could agree its clearly identified energy goals and priorities and pursue them rigorously with a single voice, it can lead the new global energy agenda.” However, European energy policy has to-date been fragmented, the fundamental reason why Europe needs a common energy policy, concluded the commissioner.

The Green Paper identifies six priority areas where action is needed, including the development of fully competitive internal energy markets in Europe, security of supply within those markets, and climate change goals.