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IC-SYNERGY 1 - International cooperation in the energy sector - Synergy programme, 1997-

To provide assistance with, and cooperation in, the definition, formulation and implementation of energy policy for non-member countries in areas of mutual interest.


Energy cooperation with third countries first began in 1980 as a means of dealing with the consequences of the second oil crisis in the late 1970's. The Community financial resources earmarked for international energy cooperation have increased steadily over the years, from ECU 650,000 in 1980 to ECU 9 million for 1995. Since 1993, all activities initiated by the Community in the field of international energy cooperation have been carried out under the SYNERGY heading.

The present legal instrument will be renewed on an annual basis until a multiannual framework has been established.

SYNERGY finances cooperation activities with non-member countries which contribute to the formulation and implementation of energy policies to the mutual benefit of all parties concerned. Unlike other international cooperation agreements of a general nature, SYNERGY focuses exclusively on the energy sector. Moreover, it is flexible in the sense that it can operate in any non-member country and, as such, is not restricted to any one country or group of countries like other Community programmes and agreements.

From the Community perspective, SYNERGY makes a contribution to achieving the energy objectives set out in the White Paper "An energy policy for the European Union":

- Overall competitiveness;
- Security of supply;
- Environmental protection.

The measures supported under SYNERGY could be of relevance to all non-member countries facing energy problems, particularly the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the new independent states of the former Soviet Union, Mediterranean countries, the developing countries in Latin America and Asia and the signatories to the Lome Convention.

Operations launched under SYNERGY complement the energy strategies defined in other Community and Member States' instruments. From the Community perspective, examples of close collaboration with other policies and activities include the specific RTD programme in the area of non-nuclear energy under the Fourth Framework Programme (JOULE/THERMIE), SAVE and ALTENER programmes, the New Mediterranean Policy, the Lome Convention, cooperation with Asia and Latin America and financial instruments such as the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Community Investment Partners (ECIP) programme and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).


Areas of cooperation linked to the Community's energy policy: - Activities pursuant to the Community's energy policy objectives: . Advice on energy policy with countries with whom the European Communities have association agreements, . Encouraging energy efficiency in third countries; . Developing local and, in particular, renewable energy sources; . Encouraging regional energy integration; . Action to promote consistency in the implementation of Community programmes in specific regions (e.g. the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Gulf); - Overall competitiveness: . Support for the dissemination of European technology and the penetration of industry in key markets in the energy sector, in particular Asia and Latin America; . Advice concerning the organization of the energy sector of third countries; . Support for the liberalization and opening up of the energy sector, helping draw up third countries' energy policies in this new situation; - Security of supply: . Dialogue with energy producing and exporting countries: Arabian/Persian Gulf, Russia, producer countries in America, Asia and Africa; . Encouraging dialogue between the European Community and the energy transit countries and the transit and producer countries in particular, by helping to implement the provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty; . Participation in and support for the work of international bodies in this sector: ministerial and producer/consumer conferences, International Energy Agency; . Support in creating a favourable environment for investment in third countries in the production and transit of energy; - The environment: . Training decision-makers and staff in the energy industry of third countries in environmental awareness, . Facilitating the dissemination of Community energy and environmental techniques, experience and information; . Encouraging clean technology, in particular for the combustion of coal in major consumers like China, taking the implications for energy policy into account; . Strengthening and supporting efforts to have environmental aspects taken into account in third countries' energy policy and planning; . Encouraging and helping third countries to plan sustainable national energy policies and devising energy supply concepts in keeping with each different environmental situation.


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of operations under the programme, assisted by a committee of an advisory nature composed of representatives from the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission. SYNERGY is implemented by an action programme based on the indicative programme established by the Council Decision. The indicative programme defines the principal objectives, guidelines and priorities of Community assistance for the areas covered by the programme, detailing those objectives considered to be of particular importance (see "Subdivisions" of this record for a summary of the indicative programme). The geographic scope of SYNERGY covers those countries and regions included in the priorities of the Community's external relations in terms of its political, security of energy and economic interests: - Central and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and Malta: emphasis to be placed on the accession process; - Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS); - Mediterranean countries; - Latin America: emphasis will be placed on Mercosur, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela; - Asia: China, India and the Asean countries; - Africa. Funding under the programme is provided, in particular, to activities concerning: - Energy policy advice and training; - Energy analysis and training; - Organization of conferences and seminars; - Support to regional trans-boundary cooperation. Funding may also cover costs related to the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these operations, as well as costs concerning information and dissemination. Community financial contributions may take the form of grants which are released in tranches as projects materialize. In principle, funding is only granted to a project after consideration of other potential funding opportunities (e.g. Member States, participating countries, international organizations). The co-financing of activities already funded by other Community programmes is not permitted. A budget of ECU 7 million has been established for 1997. No funding is available for research, development and demonstration projects. Under SYNERGY, specific agreements may be concluded with non-member countries, in the framework and for the duration of the indicative programme mentioned above, in order to define the main lines of cooperation with the country concerned and the annual consultation procedures regarding the implementation of the programme. Contracts may also be concluded with international networks of study and research centres so as to define the contribution of these networks to the achievement of the objectives set out in the indicative programme. Supply contracts are awarded by means of open invitations to tender whereas service contracts are awarded, as a general rule, by restricted invitations to tender. Negotiated contracts may be awarded for operations involving an amount up to ECU 50,000. This amount may be revised by the Council on the basis of a proposal submitted by the Commission, taking account of experience gained in similar cases. Participation in the invitations to tender and private contracts are open on equal terms to all natural and legal persons in the EU Member States and in the beneficiary non-member countries. Participation by natural and legal persons from other countries may be authorized by the Commission on a case-by-case basis. For cofinancing, the participation of undertakings from non-member countries may also be authorized by the Commission on a case-by-case basis. The Commission is required to submit an evaluation report on operations during 1997 by 31 December 1998.



1 January 1997


17 December 1998

Programme funding:

€ 5 million

Official Journal reference:

L 104 of 1997-04-22

Legislative reference:

701/97 Regolamento of 1997-04-14