EU, US council underlines joint strategic efforts

19 March 2024

The USA and the European Union have reiterated their intent to strengthen their strategic relationship to ensure energy security, align policies, and deepen cooperation on technologies and innovation, all with the aim of accelerating the global transition to climate neutrality.

The US-EU Energy Council in session on 15 March (Image: Freddie Everett/US State Department)

High-level representatives met in Washington DC on 15 March for the 11th US-EU Energy Council, the lead transatlantic forum for coordinating strategic energy issues at political and technical levels. The meeting was chaired by US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, US Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, and  European External Action Service Acting Deputy Secretary General BĂ©len Martinez Carbonell.

"Transatlantic energy cooperation is vital to advancing diverse and resilient energy systems, bolstering energy security, promoting stability and transparency in global energy markets, and accelerating just energy transitions consistent with our mutual commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions at home and globally by 2050," the Council said in a joint statement issued after the meeting.

It recognised the work of the EU-US Task Force on Energy Security, and pledged to continue working to build on efforts to ensure energy security in Europe and beyond and contribute to decarbonisation globally. It welcomed the outcome of the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement - issued at COP28 in Dubai last December - and called on all Paris Agreement Parties to come forward in their next nationally determined contributions with emission reduction targets aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It also emphasised the need for the world to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a "just, orderly, and equitable manner" to achieve net zero by 2050 "in keeping with the science". The next decade will be critical for this, it said, and "reiterated the urgency of phasing out unabated coal in the energy sector globally, in particular ending the continued investment in new coal-fired power plants".

"Energy systems with diverse and resilient supply chains that do not overly rely on a single supplier for fuels, critical raw materials and minerals, or other inputs are key to reducing dependencies and countering attempts to weaponise energy," it noted.

The council noted the role that nuclear power can play in decarbonising energy systems in countries that have decided, or will decide, to use it, adding that the USA and EU "intend to intensify cooperation to reduce dependency on Russia for nuclear materials and fuel cycle services, and support ongoing efforts by affected EU Member States to diversify nuclear supplies, as appropriate".

It also reiterated its "strong condemnation" of Russia's continued control and its actions "at and around" the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, and reaffirmed its support for the five principles outlined by International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi to the UN Security Council, and for the agency’s work to apply safeguards and assist Ukraine in managing the safety and security of its nuclear facilities.

"Our cooperation gets stronger & covers a broader range of topics. From bolstering #energysecurity & supporting [Ukraine], to securing clean energy supply chains & accelerating the #energytransition," Kadri Simson said on X.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News