The text of the following statement was released by the Government of the United States of America and the European Union on the occasion of the ninth meeting of the U.S.-EU Energy Council.
The ninth United States – European Union Energy Council (“Council”) met today in Washington, D.C., chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell Fontelles, and European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. The Ambassador of France to the United States Philippe Etienne represented the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). As reconfirmed in the June 15, 2021 EU-U.S. Summit Statement, the U.S.-EU Energy Council is the lead transatlantic coordination forum on strategic energy issues. The Council built on the work announced by President von der Leyen and President Biden on U.S.-EU cooperation on energy security in their Joint Statement of 28 January 2022.
Mindful of the rapidly changing energy landscape and the continued risks to energy security, including cybersecurity of energy infrastructure, the U.S.-EU Energy Council works to enhance energy security and promote energy diversification. The parties emphasized that accelerating the just energy transition to a net-zero future will support the mitigation of energy market fluctuations and facilitate access to affordable and reliable energy. The Council discussed the urgency for action to address the gas supply situation in Europe and to ensure gas supply to Ukraine.
The United States and the EU each underlined their commitment to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and to working together to ensure a rapid decarbonization and clean energy transition, and to promote increasing investments in related technologies. Accordingly, the Council reiterated the need to phase out unabated coal for power generation and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies without delay. The Council also works to accelerate a just energy transition to climate neutrality for citizens of the EU, the United States, and around the globe, and to promote research and development, innovation and deployment in related fields.
Bolstering Energy Security in the EU and its neighborhood, including in Ukraine and the Western Balkans
The Council reaffirmed the importance of the United States and EU working together on our mutual net-zero energy transition as countries increase their climate ambitions to ensure that consumers have secure access to affordable and reliable energy. The EU and the United States affirmed their commitment to proactively cooperate to address any potential risks related to energy supply in the EU and its neighborhood. This cooperation endeavors to focus on avoiding energy and resource supply disruptions and improving diversification of energy suppliers, fuel types in line with our net-zero targets, and means of transport. The Council underlined that competitive and transparent global energy markets remain critical to ensuring a reliable, affordable, and secure energy supply for Europe. As we address geopolitical and climate impacts on current energy markets, the EU and the United States intend to work together so that global liquefied natural gas markets have the capacity to provide additional and diversified supplies in case of pipeline gas disruptions in the short term as countries move away from fossil fuels and towards a sustainable net-zero future. The EU and the United States also recognize the growing cyber related threats to energy infrastructure and plan to continue related cooperation including in the context of the synchronization of the Baltic States’ electricity networks with the Continental European Network.
The Council reiterated that it is unacceptable to use energy supply as a weapon or geopolitical lever. This conviction underpinned the Council’s support for enhancing the resilience and energy security of Eastern partners, such as the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, including through reverse gas flows. Recognizing current geopolitical tensions, the United States and the EU discussed intensifying cooperation in the short-term to ensure sufficient energy supplies for the EU and its neighborhood.
The Council affirmed that Ukraine continues to be a key partner of both the EU and the United States and expressed firm support for a strong and resilient Ukraine. It emphasized that energy security is vital to a sovereign Ukraine. The Council reiterated that Ukraine is a strategic gas transit country for the EU and should continue to promote the integration of Ukraine into the EU’s energy market, with the goal of improving Ukraine’s energy security, accelerating its decarbonization and clean energy transition, and enhancing its potential for clean energy exports. The Council expressed continued support for exploring new gas transit routes and capacity from the EU to Ukraine. The Council emphasized the importance of continuing to support the synchronization process of the electricity networks of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova with the Continental European Network. The Council dedicated itself to new efforts to invest in and support Ukraine’s decarbonization efforts and relevant infrastructure.
The Council reaffirmed the need for transparent, robust, and independent institutions in Ukraine’s energy sector, in particular the energy market regulatory authorities and financial markets authorities, including the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine. It highlighted that strong corporate governance and supervisory board autonomy without political interference are fundamental components to national energy security. As we are moving towards Ukraine’s integration with the European energy market, we will aim at strengthening corporate governance and supervisory board autonomy in Ukraine. The Council also emphasized its support for speedy energy sector reforms.
The Council reaffirmed the importance of advancing transparent, integrated, and competitive energy markets in the Western Balkans, and associated market and regulatory reforms, in line with the EU enlargement policy and obligations under the Energy Community Treaty.
The Council confirmed the importance of the decarbonization of the Western Balkans and integration of their electricity markets with the EU neighboring electricity market. The Council should continue coordination on energy market and regulatory reforms and support for decarbonization in the Western Balkans, in particular to phase out unabated coal for power generation and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. The Council also underlined the need to ensure the security of energy supply, notably through access to alternative supply sources. The Council welcomed the adoption of the Clean Energy Package and Decarbonisation Roadmap by the Energy Community, encouraged their speedy implementation, and acknowledged the importance of supporting the development of the region’s potential participation in renewable energy supply chains. The Council also emphasized the importance of close U.S.-EU coordination to foster regional cooperation.
Energy Policy, Technology, and Innovation for a Clean and Just Energy Transition
The Council underlined the importance of energy cooperation in research and innovation that supports global efforts towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 by offering policy and technological solutions that are aligned with the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement.
The EU and the United States share objectives to reduce methane emissions from all fossil fuels and along the entire supply chain. In this respect, the Council acknowledged successful EU-U.S. leadership in launching the Global Methane Pledge at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the UN Climate Change Conference. The Council intends to initiate work on a common tool for life cycle analysis (LCA) of methane emissions for hydrocarbon suppliers that will advance global efforts to move towards consistency and accuracy of the measurement, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions from the production of hydrocarbons and support improved reporting on methane in national greenhouse gas inventories. The International Methane Emissions Observatory will act as a key data collector and a validator to enhance methane measurement in alignment with the OGMP 2.0 standard. The EU and the United States plan to cooperate in the development of more uniform international methane emissions testing methodologies by bringing together centers of expertise in metrology.
The Council acknowledged the role that clean and renewable hydrogen will play in decarbonizing our energy systems. To that end, the Council expressed support for leveraging the bilateral relationship through multilateral engagement to advance work on hydrogen of this type including on codes, standards and certification, and regulatory frameworks, research and technology innovation, setting the foundation for open and resilient global hydrogen markets. The EU and the United States intend to explore engagement with the private sector on this topic. The Council noted the importance of coordinating and streamlining the work of different international initiatives on hydrogen.
The Council recognized the 2021 joint U.S.-EU Energy Council Energy Efficiency in Buildings Webinar Series, which emphasized the need for further efforts such as Mission Innovation and the International Energy Agency’s Energy in Buildings and Communities Programme that address energy efficiency and carbon performance of the buildings and construction sector, both domestically and internationally.
The United States and the EU consider that onshore and offshore wind power are key technologies for clean power generation. The Council announced planning for the third High-Level Business to Business Forum under the U.S.-EU Energy Council in 2022, which will focus on offshore wind, and looked forward to receiving a report on the event.
The Council emphasized that decarbonization efforts must be matched by adequate efforts to ensure a just and socially inclusive energy transition that leaves no one behind. To this end, a holistic approach is required to tackle energy poverty and support transitioning communities. Ahead, during, and after key international milestones, such as COP27, the EU and the United States are exchanging information on experiences regarding just transition and how to advance international cooperation. The Council noted that a roadmap with possible joint actions in 2022 should be prepared.
Complementary Progress in Other Fora
The Council acknowledged progress on multilateral and other bilateral initiatives and expressed its intent to discuss and coordinate positions ahead of major multilateral events. The strong EU-U.S. relationship has paved the way for more ambitious global climate and energy actions notably at COP26, G7, G20, International Energy Agency, Clean Energy Ministerial, Mission Innovation, the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate Cooperation (P-TECC), International Renewable Energy Agency, and in fusion through both the ITER international agreement and EURATOM research. The Council also welcomed the work of other U.S.-EU bilateral platforms, including the newly established Trade and Technology Council, which demonstrate both partners’ overall commitment to reaching net-zero emissions and increase access and availability of clean energy technologies. The United States and the EU plan to coordinate their efforts in support of third countries to promote relevant market and regulatory reforms to ensure robust decarbonization efforts, a swift, just and socially inclusive energy transition to a climate-neutral future, and to address energy poverty including in Africa. The Council reiterated the United States and EU’s commitment to provide trusted connections by promoting an infrastructure development globally that is high-standard, transparent, and climate resilient, through U.S., EU, regional, and multilateral initiatives including Build Back Better World and the Global Gateway.