Tuesday, 8 December 2009

EU Energy Council results 7 December 2009

The press release with the conclusions of the 2983rd Council meeting, in the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy configuration on 7 December 2009, has been duly posted on the web site of the Council of the European Union (document 17165/09).

Only energy questions were on the agenda.

The results were mainly inconclusive: The Council “took note”, “had an exchange of views” or ministers were informed of recent developments.

Still, EU Council meetings need not be unimportant, even if they mark one stage in a long process. The conclusions offer a wealth of information for interested parties on the current stage of these processes, especially given the wealth of links to documentary references. (I leave these to the specialists.)

Energy is becoming a policy area of strategic importance for Europe.

Swedish EU Council presidency

The Swedish Council presidency web page on the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council configuration offers more information on this important policy area. The Swedish press release on Monday’s meeting highlights the concrete decision taken (formally in an intergovernmental setting, at the margins of the Council) to locate the new Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The press release Secure energy supply and energy efficiency in Europe offers an overview of the issues discussed: the Energy Efficiency Package, the ACER decision, secure energy supply in the European Union and investments in new energy sources.

Energy in Lisbon Treaty: “a spirit of solidarity”

Energy is one of the rare policy areas, where the Lisbon Treaty actually added something important, instead of subtracting from the Constitutional Treaty. Title XXI Energy of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) presents the framework for EU efforts in this strategically important policy area (OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/134-135):


Article 194 TFEU

1. In the context of the establishment and functioning of the internal market and with regard for the need to preserve and improve the environment, Union policy on energy shall aim, in a spirit of solidarity between Member States, to:

(a) ensure the functioning of the energy market;

(b) ensure security of energy supply in the Union;

(c) promote energy efficiency and energy saving and the development of new and renewable forms of energy; and

(d) promote the interconnection of energy networks.

2. Without prejudice to the application of other provisions of the Treaties, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish the measures necessary to achieve the objectives in paragraph 1. Such measures shall be adopted after consultation of the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

Such measures shall not affect a Member State's right to determine the conditions for exploiting its energy resources, its choice between different energy sources and the general structure of its energy supply, without prejudice to Article 192(2)(c).

3. By way of derogation from paragraph 2, the Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, shall unanimously and after consulting the European Parliament, establish the measures referred to therein when they are primarily of a fiscal nature.

Wind power grid

Business Week reports: Energy ministers from Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg promised to develop a new offshore power grid to link up electricity produced from sea-based wind power turbines.

Ralf Grahn

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