International organisations

International organisations

To help further its energy and climate goals, the EU works with a number of international organisations.

International Energy Agency

The International Energy Agency (IEA) was set up in the wake of the 1973-74 oil crisis to help member countries respond to major oil shocks. Since then, the IEA's work has expanded to cover overall energy security, economic development, and clean energy. Currently, the IEA consists of 29 member countries and the EU fully participates in its work.

IEA website

The EU participates in IEA Governing Board meetings, as well as in the work of IEA committees. It also participates in technology initiatives where countries and organisations work together on energy research and technology.

List of multilateral technology initiatives (IEA)

Eurostat works with the IEA and other international organisations in the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) – a global initiative to collect accurate and transparent oil and gas statistics.

JODI website

Energy Charter

The Energy Charter is an international agreement for cross-border cooperation between 52 industrialised countries, the EU, and Euratom. Its aim is to help countries manage risks associated with trade and investment in energy. The Energy Charter focuses on:

  • the protection of investments
  • trade in energy
  • energy transit
  • dispute settlement

The EU has signed the Energy Charter's Protocol on energy efficiency and related environmental aspects.

Energy Charter website

Decision on the Energy Charter Protocol on energy efficiency and related environmental aspects (98/181/EC, ECSC, Euratom)

G7 and G20

The EU as a whole is represented at meetings of both the Group of Seven (G7) and the Group of 20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (G20).

Amongst many other issues, the G7 and G20 have worked together to foster better international cooperation on energy policy. At the Pittsburgh G20 Summit in 2009 for instance, leaders agreed to rationalise and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. To make this happen, G20 countries have promised to develop their own national strategies.

More on the G7 and the G20 (DG Economic and Financial Affairs)

G20 website

Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) coordinates the oil policies of its 12 members – Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

The EU imports around 40% of its oil from OPEC members. In cooperating with OPEC, the EU aims to promote:

  • more stable and transparent international oil markets
  • an attractive investment climate
  • better market analysis and forecasts
  • improved technological and international cooperation

OPEC website

EU-OPEC Ministerial meetings:

2013 - Meeting 10
2011 - Meeting 8
2010 - Meeting 7
2009 - Meeting 6
2008 - Meeting 5
2007 - Meeting 4
2006 - Meeting 3
2005 - Meeting 2
2005 - Meeting 1

EU-OPEC Round Table meetings:

2008 - Carbon Capture and Storage
2007 - Energy policies
2005 - Oil market developments

Gulf Cooperation Council

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) brings together six Arab countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – to further political and economic integration amongst them. For example, the GCC launched a common market in 2008 and a patent office in 1992. All GCC countries are also producers of oil and gas, some of which is exported to the EU.

The EU first established bilateral relations with the GCC through a Cooperation Agreement in 1988. The agreement brings together EU and GCC foreign ministers every year for meetings. Other senior officials including energy experts also meet in joint cooperation committees.

EU-GCC relations (European External Action Service)

GCC website

EU-GCC Energy Expert Group meetings:

2010 - Meeting 10
2009 - Meeting 09

International Atomic Energy Agency

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) promotes the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear energy around the world. The EU is a major contributor to the IAEA's work, both in terms of financing and technical expertise.

In 2013, the IAEA and the European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding on nuclear safety which includes working together through expert peer reviews, and the strengthening of emergency preparedness and response.

Memorandum of understanding on nuclear safety

EU support to the IAEA factsheet

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)

In November 2006 the ITER Agreement setting up the ITER Organisation was signed by China, South Korea, the United States, India, Japan, Russia and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The ITER Agreement led to the establishment of The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) - an experimental fusion reactor in the south of France aiming to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion as a viable source of energy. The ITER Organisation has the overall responsibility for the construction, operation, exploitation and de-activation of the ITER facilities. The Agreement binds each Party to make in-kind (components necessary for the construction of the ITER device) and in-cash contributions. For the construction phase, the EU (as Host Party) is responsible for approximately 45% of the contribution.


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