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Pre-EU Energy Council Meeting

Volume 519: debated on Tuesday 30 November 2010

In advance of the forthcoming Energy Council in Brussels on 3 December, I am writing to outline the agenda items to be discussed. I will represent the UK.

The main items on the agenda at the Energy Council will be the recently published Commission documents, the “Energy 2020” strategy and the communication on energy infrastructure priorities. The Commission will present the two communications, followed by a discussion by Ministers on the basis of questions provided by the Belgian presidency. This discussion is intended to help prepare for the debate among Heads of Government/State at the energy-themed European Council in February. At the Energy Council, I will welcome the publication of the communications, and support their strong emphasis on energy efficiency, the internal market, overcoming barriers to infrastructure investment and the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies. I will also emphasise the need for the debate at the February European Council to focus on the major issues facing EU energy policy as the EU moves to a low-carbon, energy-secure future while preserving its international competitiveness.

Ministers at the Energy Council will also adopt Council conclusions on a consumer energy policy and on the Commission’s recent communication on the safety of offshore oil and gas activities. We broadly welcome the conclusions and expect them to be adopted without discussion. The Commission will then update the Council on a number of international energy relations events and on the state of play of the European energy recovery programme. The Greek delegation will also inform the Council of a “green energy development initiative” adopted at a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Organisation in October.

In the morning of the Council, I will sign a memorandum of understanding on the North sea offshore grid initiative with colleagues from Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Luxembourg, Denmark and Norway. The MOU commits the signatories to working together to identify the barriers and explore ways of tackling a more co-ordinated development of offshore grids. It recognises the role that the renewable energy resources of the North sea can play in meeting the EU’s climate and energy targets and the benefits it can bring in terms of security of supply and market integration.