My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Baroness Verma, has made the following written ministerial statement.
Today, in advance of the forthcoming Energy Council in Brussels on 5 March, I am writing to outline the agenda items to be discussed.
Under the first item on the agenda the Latvian presidency has suggested an exchange of views on the strategic framework for the energy union, with a view to contributing to the discussion and conclusions on the energy union expected at the European Council on 19-20 March. The UK broadly welcomes the Commission’s communication setting out a strategy for a “resilient Energy Union with a forward looking Climate Change Policy” and considers it a promising start to delivering the EU reform needed to strengthen Europe’s energy security, decarbonise cost-effectively and deepen the internal energy market. The UK will be arguing that the scale of the challenges ahead requires further ambition and flexibility and that member states need to be able to draw on the full range of low, and lower, carbon technologies to deliver secure, low carbon and competitive energy, including renewable, energy efficiency, nuclear, CCS and gas.
The Council will then hold a policy debate on energy infrastructure, focusing on measures to promote the efficient implementation of an interconnected cross-border energy market, including ending the energy isolation of member states. The UK agrees that more needs to be done by member states to complete the single market and that particular priority needs to be given to the facilitation of new interconnection and investment projects.
The Commission and presidency will then report on the current situation in relation to European energy security.
Finally, the Czech delegation is expected to present proposals on the European Nuclear Energy Forum.