We met Annabelle Jaeger, member of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council (France) with responsibility for biodiversity, to hear her thoughts on the negotiations for COP21 that are currently underway. She emphasised that it was possible to make our environmental commitments even more robust by suggesting an even greater reduction in CO2 emissions: “By 2030, we believe that Europe could reduce emissions by half compared with 1990 levels, meet 40% of its energy consumption from renewable energy sources and make energy savings of 40%, particularly in the construction and transport sectors.”

“I want to reform and reorganise Europe’s energy policy in a new European Energy Union”, said Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the European Commission, at the beginning of his term of office. We met with his Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union, Maros Sefcovic, to see more clearly where we stand today in terms of deploying a new energy policy of this kind. Maros Sefcovic explained the main feature of the Energy Union strategy, which is a fundamental transition in Europe’s energy system towards a low-carbon economy, as well as his commitment to climate policy: “An ambitious climate policy is an integral part of the Energy Union. EU Member States agreed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions EU-wide compared to 1990. This is an inspiring contribution to international climate negotiations and the European Union engages in climate diplomacy to convince other countries to join the EU’s efforts”. He believes that local and regional governments have a strategic role in implementing this new strategy.