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EU-China cooperation on energy issues

China produces and uses more energy than any other country. Energy developments in China therefore have a big impact on global energy markets, as well as on the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

EU and China share common interests and goals for the clean energy transition, and are jointly responsible for one third of the world's final energy consumption. The EU’s energy cooperation with China thus focuses on supporting both sides’ clean energy transition, a prerequisite to successfully implement the Paris Agreement and to provide their citizens with clean, sustainable and affordable energy.

The annual energy dialogue

Since 1994, EU and Chinese officials have met for an annual energy dialogue to cooperate on energy issues at ministerial level. The dialogue forms the basis of the EU-China energy cooperation and focuses broadly on four areas to further advance the clean energy transition

  • energy efficiency
  • renewable energy sources
  • design and transformation of the energy system and global energy markets
  • the role of innovative energy actors

The energy dialogue was deepened and intensified by the 2019 joint statement on the implementation of the EU-China cooperation, which follows the EU-China roadmap from 2016 and the 2018 joint statement on climate change and clean energy.

The 2020 energy dialogue covered clean energy policies, in the context of both parties’ efforts to overcome the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Both the EU recovery plan and the European Green Deal were the primary topics, as well as China’s measures to stimulate clean energy development, and the shared responsibility to promote green energy investments in third countries.

Commissioner Simson and Administrator Zhang also reviewed progress on the 2019 joint statement. As part of the review, the first three comparative reports were presented and submitted as key deliverables of joint efforts.

  • Comparative report on the electricity markets and systems in the EU and China (EN | CN)
  • Report on policies to support the construction of renewable energy generation capacity in the EU and China (EN | CN)
  • Report on policies to support the integration of variable renewables in the energy system of the EU and China (EN | CN)

Against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the 2022 energy dialogue addressed topics of common interest, such as energy security, the green energy transition and electricity market reforms. LNG, natural gas and oil markets featured prominently in discussions on energy security. Policies and practices to accelerate the green energy transition were at the core of exchanges with the Chinese counterparts, and three joint reports on power market reforms, innovative energy solutions and energy efficiency were presented at the meeting.

EU-China energy cooperation platform

The EU-China energy cooperation platform is a practical tool that supports the energy dialogue and delivers on the specific objectives of EU-China bilateral energy cooperation.

The EU Partnership Instrument, designed to advance the EU’s strategic interests and tackle global challenges, funds the platform. It is jointly steered by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and the Chinese National Energy Administration.

The platform gathers a wide array of energy players in China and the EU like relevant public authorities, energy associations, energy industry and businesses, as well as leading energy research institutes and thinks-tanks. Together, they provide thorough analysis of the benefits and challenges in the four priority areas in the joint statement from 2019.

The platform also creates opportunities for political and policy exchange as well as new business prospects for innovative companies in energy sector.

Presidents Juncker, Tusk, and Premier Li endorsed the implementation of the platform Li in the EU-China summit statement, 9 April 2019 and it was launched in Beijing on 15 May 2019.

Partnership on urbanisation

Over half of China's citizens currently live in urban areas, and this number is increasing. Through the EU-China partnership on urbanisation, the EU works with China to promote clean, sustainable, and energy efficient cities.

The partnership encompasses forums, study trips, and training activities, as well as an annual meeting between the President of China and the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council. While the partnership stretches across many economic and social sectors, the Commission acts as the overall coordinator for the EU.

In energy, the partnership works on topics such as promoting energy efficient buildings, researching energy technologies, and finding ways to integrate renewable energy into urban areas.

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