The European Union (EU) has set out ambitious objectives concerning its energy and environment policy. The European legal framework regarding energy has a significant impact on national legislations, even though its impact does not impede the right of a Member State to choose its various energy sources. Europe strongly depends on the energy supplies of the rest of the world, which mostly affects our economy. The European Commission (EC) approved a strategy on the creation of an Energy Union, in order to guarantee access to a secure energy supply for citizens and companies in Europe, thus limiting the impact on climate change. The aims of the energy policies of the European Union are:

• To guarantee energy supplies;
• To ensure that energy prices do not impede the competitiveness of the European industry;
• To protect the environment and to mitigate climate change;
• To improve the energy distribution network.

The European energy policy promotes energy saving, energy efficiency and the development of new and sustainable energy, in order to prepare the EU for a global energy transition and possible energy shortage. Energy will continue to be a priority for Europe over the next years, which is underlined by the clear objectives in the energy and climate sector that need to be met by 2020,2030 and 2050.
Environment crosses political borders due to its nature. A coordinated strategy at European level is vital in order to ensure synergies, coherence and cooperation among Member States in this area. The EU has developed a quite broad legal framework in the area of environment in the last few years. It started with restoration policies and expanded to strategies to prevent environmental deterioration, which pursue the following objectives:

• Protection, preservation and improvement of the quality of the environment;
• Human health protection;
• A thoughtful and reasonable use of natural resources;
• The promotion of measures which are aiming at solving regional and global environmental problems at international level. Measures to combat climate change are especially supported.

Environment issues are increasingly intertwined with the economy. The European Commission therefore developed the Strategy Europe 2020 and the EU Strategy for Sustainable Growth, in which the efficient use of natural resources is listed among the seven flagship initiatives.

Useful links:

European Commission - Energy

European Commission - Environment

European Parliament – Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE)

European Parliament – Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI)

Committee of the Regions – Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE)