Strasbourg (F), 3 October 2006
Today, the Committee on Regional Policies of the Assembly of European Regions (AER) officially published its response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on Energy. ‘European citizens and enterprises will have great difficulties in being supplied with enough energy. The Green Paper doesn’t fully answer this problem. Everybody knows that the international energy companies are on the defensive, as are the national governments. That is why we call for the systematic mentioning, in the forthcoming White Paper, as in all future documents on energy, of regional actors and their representative organisations as official partners in the European energy policy. This recognition should not only exist in the context of achieving better energy efficiency, but also when it comes to supporting energy diversification, sustainable development and the stimulation of innovation,’ declared Onno Hoes, President of the AER Committee on ‘Regional Policies’ and Regional Minister for Economic and European Affairs of Noord-Brabant-NL.
Furthermore, the AER asks the European institutions to commit more strongly to the promotion of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) within the overall energy mix. The regions insist that RES must be a major element of the European strategy on energy, as they render it ‘sustainable, competitive and secure’. For this reason, the European Commission should also improve the financial support for projects in the field of RES, above all the future programmes and in particular the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP).
‘We do regret the absence of regional stakeholders in the Green Paper on energy, as many problems stemming from energy dependency find their solution at local and regional level, which favour the use of diverse and renewable energy sources and raise awareness among the citizens for a responsible consumption of energy. The European Union – this means Europe and its citizens – could gain from our members’ good will and acquired experience*. To make sure the Regions’ concerns are taken into account in the upcoming White Paper on Energy, we will request a meeting with Energy Commissioner Piebalgs to further discuss this important topic,’ concluded Onno Hoes.
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