Heard in Europe

EU energy ministers meeting in Brussels today (3 March) criticised the absence of energy efficiency in the draft European Council conclusions for the summit of heads of state and government on 19-20 March.

EurActiv yesterday reported that the meeting will centre on how best to strengthen the bloc’s bargaining power, and talks will include plans for the collective buying of gas.

>>Read: Joint gas buying on EU leaders’ summit agenda

Other broad areas up for debate are energy security, the internal energy market and climate diplomacy, when leaders discuss the European Commission plans for Energy Union.

But efficiency measures were left off the draft conclusions.

Heard in Europe has learnt Germany, Sweden, Denmark, France, Belgium, Greece, Spain, Luxembourg, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Czech Republic criticised that decision at the Council of Ministers today.

The Commission also pushed for efficiency to be included, after backing it strongly in last week’s Energy Union communication.

Energy Union is the EU’s attempt to bolster the bloc’s energy supply security, and lessen its dependence on Russian gas.

A high-profile supporter of the project was Donald Tusk, the former prime minister of Poland who is now Council President. When prime minister, he backed plans for the collective buying of gas to drive down prices.

Some western EU states believe that would breach EU competition laws and free market rules.

>>Read: Will EU states play ball on Energy Union?

The “guidelines for draft conclusions” were obtained exclusively by EurActiv. They were sent to member states, with a request for any feedback.

Today’s meeting will feed into the next iteration of the draft, which will ultimately by agreed by EU leaders in about two weeks’ time.

After the reaction from the bloc’s national energy ministers, energy efficiency could be added to the agenda, or, its importance highlighted more strongly in the final conclusions.


Photograph courtesy of primeministergr. Published under a Creative Commons license.

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