On the Southern shore of the Mediterranean, there is an abundance of solar power, but so far it is not efficiently exploited, on its Northern shore, most EU countries have been experimenting particularly in the past decade with various energy mixes to reduce their impact on climate change while securing the energy supply. A delegation of FNF partners from Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, all involved in the climate projects of the foundation in those countries, came to Brussels to study the European case and also learn from the mistakes that were made.
The programme offered a view at energy policy from several angles. As an introduction, Kilian Gross, Head of Unit Energy Policy Coordination in the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission gave an overview of the evolution of the EU energy policy and an outlook for the future. At the European Parliament, Adrián Vazquez Lázara, Assistant to Fernando Maura Barandiarán MEP, allowed a glimpse into the cooperation in the field of energy in the Union of the Mediterranean, and Wilhelm Bargum, ALDE Policy Advisor in the Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, presented the liberal view on the Energy Union.
The delegation met not only with representatives of the EU institutions, but also with other actors in the field. Fabio Genoese, Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies’ Energy Climate House, assessed the progress of EU energy policy from a think tank position, and Michael Klinkenberg, Policy Officer with Eurocities, explained which role the biggest European cities see for themselves in the adaptation to future needs of their citizens. From the industry point of view, Dörte Fouquet, Director of the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF), shared her experience in implementing a functioning and sustainable energy market, and Lutz Nothbaum, Brussels coordinator for DESERTEC, rolled out the new vision for “DESERTEC 2.0”.
In addition to the focus on energy policy, the delegation also looked into how to improve the life cycle of products in order to reduce waste and ideally reach a circular economy where no waste will be produced at all. Piotr Barczak, Policy Officer with the European Environment Bureau, presented projects to improve waste management from both sides of the Mediterranean.
The delegation continues their programme in Berlin where they will get insight into the experience with the German energy transition.