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Rural Energy: potential for innovation overlooked. Danuta Hübner MEP


09 Feb 2011


Regional Policy

Although rural areas represent 90% of EU territory, they are often overlooked when planning EU policy. Particularly policy related to energy. People living in rural areas tend to rely on highly-polluting energy such as oil and coal. Today the Future of Rural Energy in Europe (FREE) initiative, in cooperation with Danuta Hübner MEP, Chairwoman of the Regional Development Committee in the European Parliament, launched a debate on how to ensure support for rural communities and access to clean energy.

Danuta Hübner delivered a keynote speech during today's policy meeting, highlighting the excellent timing of the initiative, just days after the first ever EU Energy Summit. "I especially welcome the commitment made by Commissioner Günther Oettinger regarding regional policy and energy. He said he will continue to rely on regional policy as the main tool for energy efficiency."

The speakers stressed the need for a best practice guide for local authorities and communities, explaining how to develop clean and efficient local energy infrastructure. The potential for innovation is out there, but it needs guidance.

"The main challenge for rural energy is the process of encouraging local communities to engage in energy projects. This usually takes time and therefore the policy-makers must take this element into consideration. We also agree that we must act now to complete the integrated energy market by 2014, to boost energy efficiency, to better coordinate our external energy policy, and to end energy islands by 2015", Danuta Hübner added.

The FREE website

For further information:
Danuta Maria HÜBNER MEP, Tel: +32-2-2845192
Katarzyna Klaus, EPP Group Press & Communications Service, Tel: +32-484-138359

Notes to Editors:
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 265 Members.


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