On 17 December 2007, European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, together with Ministers from EU Member States and Mediterranean partner countries, launched the new Euro-Mediterranean (Euromed) Energy Partnership at the Fifth Euromed Energy Ministers Conference. The Ministers and Commissioner endorsed the Ministerial Declaration and its 2008 to 2013 Priority Action Plan for Euromed cooperation in the field of energy. The Action Plan focuses on three main areas in the region: i) ensuring the improved harmonisation and integration of energy markets; ii) promoting sustainable development in the energy sector; and iii) developing initiatives of common interest in key areas such as infrastructure extension, investment financing, and research and development. Ahead of this conference, the Commissioner had called on the leading energy companies operating in the region to play an active role in supporting the 2008 to 2013 Priority Action Plan. For the next four years, the European Union will assign more than EUR 3.2 billion to Euromed cooperation.