The European Commission and France plan to boost clean energy transition, including energy efficiency, interconnections and cleaner transport, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič has said.

Šefčovič will be in France on October 6-7 for the second leg of the Energy Union tour. The Energy Union is the EU’s strategy to ensure that European citizens have access to secure, affordable and clean energy.

“The European Commission and France have the same vision and a shared goal: to be at the forefront of the energy transition. (French) President (Emmanuel) Macron recently stressed the strategic importance of the clean energy transition for France and for Europe,” Šefčovič said ahead of the visit. “We will therefore work in close collaboration to make a real success of this for French citizens and businesses. Together we can work towards the thermal renovation of buildings, the expansion of interconnections, cleaner means of transport, less air pollution, land-use change, and making sure that all citizens benefit from this transformation,” he added.

Between 2005 and 2015 France decreased its primary energy consumption by 8% and its final energy consumption by 10%, according to the Commission. Over the same period, France’s GDP increased by 8.9%. This shows that France has been decoupling its rate of economic growth from its energy consumption successfully, the Commission said, noting, however, France still needs to make further efforts to meet its energy efficiency targets for 2020, and also to do more to ensure that it remains on the right track to meet its renewables targets. The recent adoption of its “Plan Climat”, which aims to advance the country’s energy transition and ensure that the Paris Agreement is upheld, should help to make this happen, the Commission said.

Overall France is performing well on all five dimensions of the Energy Union, in particular in decarbonisation but also security of supply, the Commission said, adding that France is also part of two High Level Groups that coordinate the development of cross-border energy infrastructure in the EU: North Seas Energy Cooperation and Interconnections for South West Europe. The latter group oversees projects to increase the interconnections between the Iberian Peninsula’s markets and France and the rest of Europe. Specific projects, such as a proposed interconnection in the Bay of Biscay that is a EU Project of Common Interest, will strongly contribute to the reinforcement of the EU’s internal market, the Commission said.

Šefčovič is expected to meet France’s Minister for Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire, Minister for the Ecological Transition Nicolas Hulot, and Minister for Transport Elisabeth Borne. France’s energy and climate targets for 2020 and 2030 and its new “Plan Climat” for 2050 will be on the agenda, in addition to European mobility, energy, innovation and competition policy.

The Commission Vice-President will also meet leading start-up representatives, innovators and investors to promote European Clean-Tech and FrenchTech, and will open a conference on the subject of the energy transition in France. He will also visit innovative projects for electric self-driving vehicles developed by the VEDECOM Institute. Finally he will participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue in Bordeaux with the theme ‘Europe and the energy transition’, alongside Bertrand Piccard, president of the Solar Impulse foundation.