INTRODUCTION: Strategies, policies providing framework for sustainable energy implementation

The EU adopted its first climate and energy measures package in 2008. It is a set of binding legislation which was put forward to secure meeting the ambitious 2020 climate and energy targets, also known as “20-20-20 targets” of the European Union. The three key objectives are: a 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels; raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20%; a 20% improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency. This was a clear and strong driving force for the significant improvements achieved. In order to achieve the EU’s international commitment under the Paris Agreement (reducing Europe’s GHG emissions by 80-95 % compared with 1990 levels), an even more ambitious target was set out for 2030.

The key targets for 2030 are: at least 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, at least 32% share for renewable energy in the EU consumption, at least 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency.

The thematic strategies and policy instruments therefore play a key role in developments in the sustainable energy sector.

In addition to thematic strategies countries (both Member States and third countries) located in the same geographical area and therefore facing similar challenges may decide to form a macro-regional strategy. A macro-regional strategy is an integrated framework endorsed by the European Council aiming to strengthen co-operation amongst countries, emphasize co-ordination between different stakeholders and align resources as well as national strategies to address the common challenges.

There are four EU macro-regional strategies adopted so far:

  • The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (2009)
  • The EU Strategy for the Danube Region (2010)
  • The EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (2014)
  • The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (2015)

The countries in the Danube region, together with other stakeholders developed a macro-regional strategy (EUSDR) to harmonise responses to common ecological, transport and socio-economic challenges, to create synergies between existing policies and to coordinate initiatives in the region. The EUSDR deals with a broad range of issues in various sectors one of which is sustainable energy. The sustainable energy initiatives are thus streamlined in the Danube region.