Written statement to Parliament

Written Ministerial Statement on EU Energy Council, Luxembourg 15 June 2012

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

In advance of the forthcoming Energy Council in Luxembourg on 15 June, I am writing to outline the agenda items to be discussed. The first substantive items on the agenda will be progress reports on ...

In advance of the forthcoming Energy Council in Luxembourg on 15 June, I am writing to outline the agenda items to be discussed.

The first substantive items on the agenda will be progress reports on the proposal for a Regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure and on the proposal for a Regulation on safety of offshore oil and gas. The UK welcomes both proposals but wishes the draft Regulation on offshore safety to be reframed in the form of a Directive.

The Council is then expected to agree Conclusions on the 2050 Energy Roadmap. The Energy Roadmap is intended to explore the challenges raised by delivering the EU’s decarbonisation objective of an 80-95% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 1990 levels while ensuring security of supply and competitiveness. It should also form the basis for a policy debate over the next 12-18 months on how the EU should promote low carbon energy investment post 2020. We are broadly content with the text of the Conclusions that the Presidency is currently intending to present, as are most other Member States.

The Commission will then present the Communication on a renewable energy strategy which was published on 6 June. Ministers will continue the discussion of renewable energy over lunch. We welcome the publication of a renewable energy strategy and look forward to engaging in the development of this important element of the EU’s low carbon energy policy.

We also expect the Presidency to report on negotiations with the European Parliament on the Energy Efficiency Directive. Negotiations with the European Parliament are now in the final stages and the Danish Presidency is hoping to secure agreement at the final scheduled trilogue with the Parliament on 13 June though the outcome remains in the balance. The UK has to date supported Danish efforts to secure a deal provided that there is sufficient flexibility to take account of Member States’ individual circumstances.

The Presidency will inform the Council on proposals to amend an existing Regulation and Agreement on an energy efficiency labelling programme. No major changes are expected in the recast legislation.

At the European Council on 25 March 2011 it was agreed that a comprehensive safety assessment for the EU’s 143 nuclear power plants - the so called “stress tests” - would be undertaken.  The Commission will report on the stress tests, and possibly the next steps on the review of the Nuclear Safety Directive, before a report goes to European Council later this month.  We endorse the conclusions of the final report of the Presidency-chaired Ad Hoc Group on Nuclear Security.

The Presidency and Commission will present a report on a number of international energy relations items, including EU-OPEC, the EU-China High Level Meeting on Energy, the Southern Corridor, EU-Russia, and the EU-US Energy Dialogue.

Finally, the Cypriot delegation will present the programme for their Presidency.