Pan European Networks - Government - page 210

Negotiations on reforming the EU’s regional
policy (cohesion policy) are now underway
between the European Parliament and EU
member states. If our proposals are agreed –
and this seems very likely – we will see a policy
far better equipped than ever before to tackle
energy issues. The key lies in the conditions for
focusing investments and a new system of
minimum thresholds. The proposed European
Regional Development Fund rules for 2014-
2020 envisage a ring-fencing of the funding
for the key priorities – what we call ‘thematic
objectives’ of research and innovation, SME
competitiveness and the low-carbon economy.
If what’s on the table now goes through, this
will lead to significantly increased investments
for sustainable energy to the tune of around
€23bn for the 2014-2020 period. This
constitutes more than a doubling of what we
are currently spending from structural funds on
sustainable energy. Not only will this help
Europe achieve its climate goals, but it will also
address its Achilles heel of dependency on
energy imports.
E
nergy plays an important role within regional policy. Indeed,
regions and cities continue to pioneer the architecture of
future sustainable energy networks, supported by the EU.
And under plans for future regional policy, funds devoted to energy
are set to double. Speaking to Pan European Networks on the
occasion of 2013’s Sustainable Energy Week at the end of June,
Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy,
outlined the energy dynamics in the regions.
Do you expect energy issues to play a wider role in
regional policy in future?
The promotion of sustainable, clean energy is a crucial element in achieving
the Europe 2020 goals. EU regional policy already plays an essential role
in driving the shift of investment towards smart and sustainable growth.
And in the future, as part of the reformed regional policy for 2014-2020,
it will be even more capable of supporting the low carbon economy.
At the moment, through the way it deploys its structural and regional funds,
the EU is dedicating a substantial effort in relation to the EU’s 20-20-20
objectives on greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and the
promotion of renewables. Under our regional funds, planned spending on
energy efficiency and the promotion of renewables for the 2007-2013
budget period is over €10bn in the EU as a whole (energy efficiency –
€5.5bn; renewable energy sources – €4.6bn).
Pan European Networks: Government
07
210
Johannes Hahn,
European Commissioner for Regional Policy, answers
PEN’s
questions on the role of energy within his portfolio
ENERGY
Energising the regions
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