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Council Of Energy Ministers

Volume 87: debated on Monday 18 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement about the meeting of the European Community's Council of Energy Ministers on 11 November.

I represented the United Kingdom at the Energy Ministers' Council on 11 November.I am pleased to say that the Council agreed to extend by six months the present decision governing the payment of aids by member states to their coal industries, which was due to expire at the end of this year. This extension will allow proper time for a discussion of the Commission's proposals for a new regime governing state aids to the coal industry. Agreement was also reached to continue sales aid for coking coal until the end of 1986 at a reduced quantity of 8ยท5 million tonnes.The Council discussed the need for a further transfer of additional support for social measures resulting from the restructuring of the coal industry, and the question of making resources available for this purpose was remitted for further consideration.There was another discussion of the proposed Community energy objectives for 1985. It was accepted that the objectives should in principle be expressed in qualitative terms but that they could also incorporate some illustrative quantification. Detailed consideration of the objectives will continue.Ministers returned to the issue of refining and trade in oil products. Commissioner Mosar undertook to monitor the progress of the measures recently announced by Japan to open her markets to refined products. He will be visiting Japan in December to emphasise the importance the Community attaches to this question.The Council approved final texts of the regulations extending for another four years the Community's schemes for aiding energy demonstration projects and projects to develop new technologies in the hydrocarbons sector. A directive governing the use of substitute fuels in petrol was also agreed.