Ministerial meeting of 6 July 2020
On 6 July 2020, the German presidency hosted a ministerial meeting that was chaired by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier. The energy ministers of the North Seas countries and the European Commissioner for Energy adopted a in which they agreed that existing barriers should be removed to facilitate the accelerated implementation of multinational hybrid offshore wind energy projects and of further relevant projects. They called upon the European Commission to develop an EU enabling framework including EU guidelines for the member states on the implementation of cross-border projects, adequate electricity market arrangements, and improved and efficient EU financing. In addition, the North Seas countries intend to better coordinate their maritime spatial and offshore grid planning for the deployment of offshore wind energy.
Ministerial meeting of 14 December 2020 and the new presidency
The discussions at the second ministerial meeting under Germany’s presidency were centred on the (in German) and the Commission’s follow-up initiatives for 2021. The EU strategy has already taken up many elements from the Joint Statement adopted by the North Seas energy ministers in July 2020 under the German presidency. For example, 2021 is to see a proposal by the European Commission for an EU enabling framework for cross-border offshore wind projects which will reduce the barriers currently in the way of cross-border projects. “Expectations are high for the realisation of the first hybrid projects. We are looking forward to a swift development of an EU enabling framework in order to send the right investment signals,” Federal Minister Peter Altmaier said at the meeting. According to the European Commission, the potential EU-wide capacity of offshore wind power by 2050 amounts to at least 300 GW, thus making a major contribution to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
At the same time, the ministerial meeting saw the chair of the North Seas Energy Cooperation being officially passed on to Belgium.
UK participation in the NSEC
Since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020, the country has no longer participated in NSEC bodies. However, the cooperation agreement between the EU and the UK, which entered into force provisionally on 1 January 2021, provides for the establishment of a new, independent forum for collaboration between the NSEC and the UK. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy supports all efforts to make this forum ready to start its work soon.