I represented the United Kingdom at the EU Energy Council in Luxembourg on 15 June 2012.
The Commission and presidency gave progress reports on negotiations of 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. A number of member states spoke about the need for infrastructure in order to integrate renewables in the internal energy market. The Commission noted that the future of renewable energy would depend on the construction of cross-border infrastructure. On the regulation on the safety of offshore oil and gas, the Commission acknowledged the high safety standards applied by the UK and Norway in the North sea and signalled that it could be flexible on the legal form of the proposal. I welcomed this flexibility, with the support of several other member states.
Conclusions on the “2050 Energy Roadmap” were tabled as presidency conclusions, following late amendments by one member state. The presidency conclusions were supported by 26 member states.
The Commission presented their recently published communication “Renewable energy: a major player in the European energy market”. I welcomed the communication and noted that it should be seen in the context of the energy road map and the completion of the internal energy market, whilst emphasising that sectoral or technological targets should be treated with caution.
The presidency reported on the first reading agreement with the European Parliament on the energy efficiency directive. I and several other member states congratulated the presidency on concluding negotiations of a complex dossier. The presidency informed the Council that proposals to amend an existing regulation and agreement on an energy efficiency labelling programme would be presented to the Council.
The Commission reported on the progress of nuclear “stress tests” and outlined the next steps on the review of the nuclear safety directive.
The Commission updated the Council on a number of international energy-related items, including EU-OPEC, the EU-China high-level meeting on energy, EU-Russia and the southern corridor.
Finally, Cyprus outlined priorities for its presidency, principally taking forward the draft proposals on infrastructure and safety of offshore oil and gas, and communications on renewable energy and the internal energy market.