The European Commission has adopted a communication on Community energy policy aimed at making the Community's actions in this field more transparent. The communication, prepared in response to a request from the Council, presents the first full overview of the actions undertaken by the European Union in the energy field. Covering both cooperation with the Member States and action taken at Community level under various programmes and policies, the communication will allow a complete analysis of all the components of energy policy. It will also provide a basis for determining the future direction of the EU's energy policy in order to meet the challenges of the future. The communication outlines the three major challenges facing the EU: - The increasing dependence on third countries for energy supplies; - The need to ensure more competitive energy prices in the context of globalization; - The need to make energy markets more compatible with environmental objectives. The following conclusions are drawn for future Community policy: - Energy action needs to be strengthened to respond to these three challenges; - Greater cooperation between Member States around common energy objectives should be encouraged; - Community action will need to be better targeted on priority objectives, both within the framework of energy policy, and in other policies such as research or transport; - Measures taken should make Community action more efficient and optimize the use of financial resources. Community actions divide into two categories: actions to promote cooperation between Member States, and Community actions. These measures are classified on the basis of the contribution they can make to the following priority objectives: - Securing supply and strengthening international energy cooperation; - Integration of energy markets; - Promotion of sustainable development; - Developing energy technology and research. The Commission intends to work towards clarification and streamlining of efforts, and will aim to establish a framework for Community energy policy. The Commission is currently considering an Energy Framework Programme, similar to the Research Framework Programmes, which would bring the existing energy programmes together. Currently, Community support for energy actions comes from a variety of sources, including: the main energy programmes (SAVE, SYNERGY, ALTENER); the trans-European energy networks; the RTD programmes (JOULE/THERMIE and Euratom); the Structural Funds; international cooperation instruments; the Coal and Steel Community; and the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund.