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Workshop: “What European energy diplomacy for a climate-neutral world?”

21. Januar 2020, 09:00 - 13:30

Joint workshop MEP Reinhard Bütikofer and E3G *

What European energy diplomacy
for a climate-neutral world?

When: 23 January 2019, 9.30-13.30

Where: European Climate Foundation, Rue de la Science 23, Brussels


“My Commission will be a geopolitical Commission committed to sustainable policies. And I want the European Union to be the guardian of multilateralism.” Ursula von der Leyen, 10 September 2019

“International engagement will be crucial for the success in addressing climate change. The European Council calls on the Commission and the High Representative to pay particular attention to climate diplomacy.” European Council, 12 December 2019

The new geopolitical aspiration of the European Commission combined with the domestic mission of delivering a European Green Deal and climate neutrality by 2050 raise a key question of how the European energy diplomacy should evolve accordingly.

As a major consumer and importer of fossil energy, Europe’s energy diplomacy has been focused on securing access and transport to fossil fuels with gas imports and routes diversification strategies have been the priority of the past decade. This provides steady revenue flows to major fossil fuels exporters, such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and increasingly the United States.

This approach needs to catch up with a changing energy landscape. Clean energy and energy efficiency will alter regional and global power and influence dynamics. Investments in grids, renewables and digital technologies are becoming more important, alongside the need to ensure a climate resilient energy infrastructure. Access to fuel sources will become less important than access to raw materials for batteries.

This change in external relationships shifts climate action from being driven solely by economic or humanitarian reasons to becoming a central matter of national security and a key national interest. The existing energy diplomacy strategy needs to evolve to align with Europe’s decarbonisation objectives and the core values of European liberal democracy.


With this workshop we would like to discuss how the European energy diplomacy need to change to reflect the new reality and to better align with Europe’s climate objectives and values. It will bring together in Brussels senior experts and decision-makers from foreign policy, energy and climate policy, and the security community for a half day workshop.


The discussion will be under Chatham House Rule.

9.15 – 9:30 Arrival and coffee

9:30 – 10:30 E3G will provide an input presentation and facilitate a group conversation around the following questions:

– What does a net-zero-compatible energy diplomacy look like and how does its scope change?

– How is the international context changing and what are the main drivers?

– What instruments can the EU use to achieve its objectives?

– What can the EU institutions do over the next five years and in the run up to COP26?

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee break and networking

11:00 – 12:15 Groups discussion followed and wrap-up on tension points, barriers and choices in:

1. Changing geopolitics & trade with export and transit countries of fossil fuels (incl. Russia,
Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, US)
2. Economic and climate resilience in the MENA region in the context of the energy transition
3. Just development in Central and Southern Africa (energy access, grid development, resource exports)

12:15 – 12:30 Closing remarks, MEP Reinhard Bütikofer

12:30 – 13:30 Buffet lunch


21. Januar 2020
09:00 - 13:30


European Climate Foundation
Rue de la Science 23
Brussels, 1000
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