On April 2014, the European Commission adopted new Guidelines on State Aid in the field of environmental protection and energy for 2014-2020. The declared focus of the guidelines is to find a balance between the need for public funds in support of renewable energy and the goal of ensuring competitive markets. The debate was mainly concentrated on how climate policies, particularly renewable energy subsidies, are pushing up energy bills and distorting the internal energy market. At the same time, a growing number of voices warn that further support for renewables is crucial to decarbonise the European economy and to improve security of supply, and that investment in clean technologies can become a driver of economic competitiveness. In this context, the new EU framework for environmental and energy State Aid aims to support Member States’ efforts in reaching their 2020 climate targets, while moving gradually to market-based support for renewable energy. All of this, tending to better targeted and more cost-effective State Aid measures.
We are delighted to welcome Gert Jan Koopman during this EU Committee Business lunch. His speech about “The new energy State aid rules, competitiveness and climate change” and a discussion about related themes will help us understand if the end to green subsidies is justified, and if the path undertaken by the EU is the correct one. This can be an opportunity to think about reviewing national support schemes, to make them more efficient, smart and harmonised.
Gert Jan Koopman has been Deputy Director General for State Aids at the European Commission's Directorate General for Competition (DG COMP) since Since November 2010,. In this capacity he is responsible for the Commission's control of State Aids and the co-ordination of the 1000 State Aid cases managed by thirteen units in DG COMP. Prior to this Gert Jan Koopman was Director for "Policy Strategy and Co-ordination" and before that for the "Economic Service and Structural Reform" Directorate at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN). He joined DG ECFIN from the Commission's Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry where he was Director for the “Industrial policy and economic reforms”. From 1995 to 2004, Gert Jan Koopman advised Commissioner Neil Kinnock, initially as a Member of his Cabinet with responsibility for Transport and later as Head of Cabinet when Mr Kinnock was Vice-President for Administrative Reform. He studied Economics, Latin and Greek at the University of Amsterdam and worked as a Researcher and Policy adviser for the University of Utrecht.
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