On 24 June 2020, the European Commission and 14 Member States (Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, The Kingdom of Spain and Sweden) signed the Memorandum of Split, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) ensuring the future of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative.
What does this mean for the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative?
The MoU ensures the establishment of a long-term structure for supporting EU islands in their energy transition. Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson highlighted in her statement that this Memorandum is an example of great cooperation among EU Member States. During the press conference, Croatian Minister of Environment Tomislav Ćorić outlined the objectives of the initiative:
- to support islands in their transition agendas;
- to promote the participation, engagement and empowerment of citizens;
- to facilitate the creation of renewable energy communities;
- to promote projects; and
- to promote the exchange of best practices.
Why the Memorandum of Split?
The Memorandum of Split is a continuation of many years of efforts by the EU islands community to move forward with the energy transition in their territories. In May 2017 the European Commission, together with 14 Member States, signed the ‘Political Declaration on Clean Energy For EU Islands’ under the Maltese Presidency. This declaration was born out of the recognition that islands and island regions face a particular set of energy challenges and opportunities due to their specific geographic and climatic conditions. These opportunities have the potential to make Europe’s island communities innovation leaders in the clean energy transition in Europe and beyond. This has been explicitly recognised by the European Commission in its communication on ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’, that underlines its commitment to put the energy concerns of island inhabitants at the forefront of the energy transition and related policy developments.
In cooperation with the European Parliament, the Commission set up a Secretariat in 2018 to deliver the objectives of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative. As a member of the Secretariat, 3E has been providing technical support to 26 pilot and pioneering islands on the development of their strategic energy transition plans – the Clean Energy Transition Agendas. In addition, together with other members, 3E carried out project-specific support on renewable energy for 30 projects on European islands. The Secretariat also strengthened island communities through capacity building activities like workshops and webinars, and provided support from local to pan-European level.
The Memorandum of Split hence represents a continuation of the work jointly done by all the members of the EU islands communities over the last years, which is now also enshrined in the EU Green Deal.