The European Commission has adopted a communication on an EU-Asia energy cooperation strategy. Asian energy policy is of major importance to the EU, in view of the fact that the EU imports a majority of its energy supply and the demand for energy in Asia is likely to double between 1996 and 2005. The energy cooperation strategy has three objectives: - Reinforce the security of energy supply in Asia and Europe; - Access energy markets in Asia; - Protect the environment at world level. In particular, the Community will start a dialogue on energy policy with the Asian states and will encourage the private sector to play a greater role in investment. These actions will take account of the social and environmental aspects of development in the energy sector, with the intention of safeguarding long-term public interests. The Community actions will balance both the optimal use of local resources and demand management. Community actions have been chosen on the basis of mutual interest, with priority going to electricity, natural gas, coal, energy efficiency and energy supply for rural regions.