The European Union needs to formalise its long-term energy strategy on a pan-European level if it is to remain a global leader in climate policies, the European Commissioner for Energy has said.

Speaking at the launch of the EU’s green paper on climate change and energy policies for 2030 on 27 March, Günther Oettinger said that only an EU-wide approach to energy and climate policies, could end the fragmentation of the internal market for energy, as well as ensuring that the European Union “does not lose authority in global climate negotiations.” The next round of such talks are in 2015.

The green paper represents the beginning of a public consultation that will eventually determine the contents of new EU law on the long-term energy and climate policy of the Union.

“I am making an offer to all stakeholders,” said Oettinger, who announced the green paper alongside Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard. The green paper aims to jointly lay out both the EU’s future energy and climate protection policy. As Hedegaarde put it, “there cannot be climate policies here and energy policies there – they have to go hand in hand.”

The green paper is part of a series of documents released today (27 March), the others being a communication on the future of carbon capture and storage (CCS), and a progress report on renewable energy.

According to Oettinger, the EU is “to a large extent on track” to meet its existing climate targets of a 20% share of renewable energy, 20% more energy efficiency and 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The renewables target, he said, was still achievable, despite varying results across member states, while he admitted that with the energy efficiency targets, certain member states “were still playing catch-up.”

He said that by firming up EU policy now, it would establish investor and government confidence. “No sector depends more on long-term strategy for investors,” he said. 2020 “was yesterday, 2030 is tomorrow.”