Increasing demand for energy, volatile prices, disruptions to supply and a desire to minimise environmental impact all make a clear EU strategy on energy essential. The result is a policy with three axes: ensuring security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability.

Energy Union

In February 2015 the European Commission launched its plans for a European In February 2015 the European Commission launched its plans for a European Energy Union that will ensure secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy for EU citizens and businesses. It will allow a free flow of energy across national borders within the EU, a secure supply in every EU country for every citizen. New technologies, energy efficiency measures and renewed infrastructure will cut household bills and create new jobs and skills, as companies expand exports and boost growth. It will lead to a sustainable, low carbon and environmentally friendly economy, putting Europe at the forefront of renewable energy production and the fight against global warming. Energy Union will also help Europe speak with one voice in global energy affairs.

Energy Union is based on five dimensions: secure supplies, the internal energy market, energy efficiency, emissions reduction and research and innovation in energy.

The Energy Union will build on the EU's existing energy policies including the 2030 Energy and Climate Framework and the Energy Security Strategy.

EU targets

The EU has energy and climate targets for 2020, 2030 and 2050.

The targets to be met by 2020 are:

  • A reduction in greenhouse gases by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels
  • A 20% share of renewables in the EU's energy mix
  • A 20% improvement in energy efficiency

The targets to be met by 2030 are:

  • A 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030
  • At least a 27% share of renewable energy in the EU
  • An energy efficiency increase of at least 27%, potentially to 30%
  • A 15% electricity interconnection target between EU countries

The target to be met by 2050 is:

  • An 80-95% cut in greenhouse gases compared to 1990 levels. The Energy Roadmap 2050 analyses a series of scenarios on how to meet this target.

EU Progress

The EU has already made important progress towards meeting its targets:

  • Between 1990 and 2012, the EU cut greenhouse gas emissions by 18% and is well on track to meet the 2020 target
  • The share of renewables in the EU's energy mix in 2012 was 14.1%, up from 8.5% in 2005
  • Energy efficiency is predicted to improve by 18% to 19% by 2020 – barely missing the 20% target. However, if countries implement all the necessary EU legislation, the target should be reached.

International relations

International cooperation is key to EU energy policy to respond to global energy challenges such as energy security, climate change, environmental protection and volatile prices. The EU works with its international partners to ensure secure supplies of energy at competitive prices for Europe. At the same time, the success of EU policies to tackle worldwide greenhouse gas emissions also hinges on the energy policies of other countries.

The EU strives to maintain good relations with its key suppliers of natural gas, oil, coal, and other energy resources. In particular, this means working closely with Norway and Russia who supply over half of the EU's gas. It also involves cooperation with OPEC countries who provide over 40% of the EU's oil; states in the Gulf Cooperation Council; and emerging suppliers in Africa, the Americas, and Central Asia and the Caucasus. The EU is also working on strengthening the Energy Community – which contains the EU and countries from South East Europe and the Black Sea region - and developing cooperation with Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries.

Find out more about the EU's international energy cooperation.

Find out more about EU energy policy.