I am writing to report discussions at the Informal Energy and Environment Council in Milan on 6 October, where I represented the UK.
The Council discussed the Italian Presidency’s report on energy security in the EU, which put forward a number of medium to long-term measures to address energy security, as required by the June European Council Conclusions. Following a detailed discussion the report went forward as a Presidency document, because of concerns expressed by some Member States. A number of Member States wanted to ensure that energy security was discussed in tandem with the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies and others had concerns over interconnection targets. I broadly supported the report as a useful contribution to the debate on energy security.
The Council then considered the completion of the Internal Energy Market. The European Commission opened the session by outlining the main challenges to completing the internal energy market, focusing on the need for completion of the Network Code process, and the cross-border interconnections covered by the Projects of Common Interest process. The importance of regional co-operation was also focused on as a key priority by the discussion. The importance of the internal market for climate change action and energy security policy was made clear in the discussion.
Over lunch, Ministers discussed the Commission’s Communication on the contribution of energy efficiency to energy security and climate-energy policies.
In the afternoon there was a roundtable discussion on the EU 2030 framework for climate and energy policies I urged Member States to agree a package by the October European Council. I stated that the UK wants to see a package that is ambitious and has a target for EU domestic greenhouse gas emission reductions of at least 40%; that addresses the challenges of energy security and investment that Europe faces today; and that reflects the principles of fairness, solidarity and cost effectiveness. I reiterated the importance the UK places on the need for Member States to have flexibility in the way they implement the package.