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Energy and climate change at heart of Commission's 2007 work programme

Commission President José Manuel Barroso has presented the European Commission's work programme for 2007, with energy and climate change heading the list of priorities.

The 'forces unleashed by globalisation' are presenting more shared challenges than ever before, said Mr Bar...

Policy making and guidelines

Commission President José Manuel Barroso has presented the European Commission's work programme for 2007, with energy and climate change heading the list of priorities.

The 'forces unleashed by globalisation' are presenting more shared challenges than ever before, said Mr Barroso. Challenges come in the form of climate change, energy security or international terrorism, but Europe has responded effectively, he said.

'We can be proud of our response so far to this rapidly changing landscape. First, we renewed the Lisbon Agenda and placed the emphasis squarely on growth and jobs. As a result, it was possible to restore confidence in the Stability and Growth Pact, putting it on a more realistic and workable footing,' said the Commission President.

Continuing his reflection on 2006, Mr Barroso highlighted efforts to support innovation: 'To ensure that Europe thrives in the knowledge economies of tomorrow, innovation became a central part of our economic and social strategies. The establishment of the European Institute of Technology [EIT] will help reverse the fragmentation of research, education and innovation efforts, which has stunted progress so far.'

Irish MEP Brian Crowley, responding to the presentation, was not impressed with the speed of reforms intended to promote innovation. 'When did it become a sin to be radical?' he asked. He said that progress towards the Lisbon goals had been too slow, and that there is 'still so much lacking', with more talk than action on research and innovation.

Naturally research and innovation will have a role to play in the Commission priority areas of energy and climate change. In 2007 the Commission will present the first ever Strategic Energy Review for Europe, which will include proposals to accelerate the take-up of new, low carbon technologies and to diversify supplies.

On climate change the Commission will put forward options for an EU climate change policy, and alternatives for international cooperation.

Numerous research projects on energy and the environment are also likely to receive funding under the new Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), due to be launched on 1 January 2007.