The Council Decision concerning the renewal of the ALTENER programme for the promotion of renewable energy sources in the Community (ALTENER II) has now been published in the Official Journal. The programme will run for two years (1998 and 1999) with a budget of ECU 22 million, and will be open to cooperation with the Central and Eastern European countries, and Cyprus, in view of their likely eventual accession to the EU. ALTENER II continues and extends the previous ALTENER programme, which expired at the end of 1997. The programme is seen as an important instrument in the energy field, and through the promotion and development of environmentally friendly, renewable energy sources will form one of the main components of the EU's strategy to reduce CO2 emissions. The main objectives of the programme are to help create the necessary legal, socio-economic and administrative conditions for the implementation of a Community action plan for renewable energy sources and to encourage private and public investments in the production and use of energy from renewable sources. The programme will also complement wider Community policies, in particular, the reduction of energy import dependence, security of energy supply, the promotion of employment and economic development. Actions to be financed under the programme include studies to develop the potential of renewable energy, pilot projects, education and training measures and monitoring and evaluation activities. The Commission, assisted by a committee composed of representatives from Member States, will define the conditions and guidelines for actions to be implemented under the programme. ALTENER II will become part of the new Energy Framework Programme currently under discussion once this is adopted. The new Framework Programme will group all the EU's different energy initiatives in a single integrated structure, ensuring better coordination and complementarity.