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Energy

Volume 454: debated on Thursday 14 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with other Departments on UK energy security priorities under the German presidency of the Council of the European Union. (108888)

UK energy security is a high priority for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as a whole. In the run-up to Germany taking over the presidency of the EU on 1 January, the FCO has been very active in engaging with other Government Departments on UK policy. Testament to the effective work we have done on this agenda were two important outcomes from informal European Council in October at Lahti: to link European policy on energy security and climate change more closely together so that the EU pursues an integrated policy; and a greater coherence among EU member states than there has been in the past on external energy security issues, e.g. our approach towards dealing with third country suppliers. This work has been particularly timely in relation to the European Commission’s Strategic Energy Review, which will be published shortly and will help set further direction on energy and climate change policy during the German presidency. The FCO has been working with the Commission and EU member states to ensure that UK priorities are reflected in the Strategic Energy Review and other Commission papers such as the Energy Efficiency Action Plan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her objectives are on energy security during the German presidency of the Council of the European Union. (108889)

The UK’s objectives are to follow up on the agreement made by heads of the EU at Lahti to use EU external energy policy to deliver broader climate and energy security objectives. The strategic decisions we will take on energy in the next few months are an opportunity for the EU to deliver a future with a secure climate and secure energy. We aim to encourage EU leadership in tackling the linked issues of energy and climate security and to show EU citizens that we are on the front foot in shaping a low-carbon future. We must also speak with one voice on climate security, including with external partners—Russia, China and India and are confident that the German presidency will take this further. A milestone for achieving these objectives will be the spring European Council and we are pleased that Chancellor Merkel has said energy—and climate change—will be key element of this.