Ministers at today’s meeting, in Brussels, of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) (Energy) Council, were informed on the important agreement reached with the EU institutions on the proposed Regulation for trans-European energy infrastructure. Furthermore, they adopted Council conclusions on the Commission’s Communication on a Strategy for Renewable Energy.
At the meeting, chaired by the Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Mr. Neoklis Sylikiotis, the Cyprus Presidency briefed the Ministers on the agreement reached with the EU institutions, at the third and final informal trilogue on the 27th of November, on the proposed Regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure. As explained by Minister Sylikiotis at the press conference following the Council meeting, “the Regulation is a key priority of the Cyprus Presidency and is important not only for the energy sector, but also for Europe’s economic recovery”.
Foundation laid to promote RES
The EU’s energy Ministers also laid the foundation for promoting further Renewable Energy Sources (RES), through the adoption of Council Conclusions based on the Commission’s Communication on a Strategy for Renewable Energy. “Through the Conclusions, we aim to better integrate RES into the electricity market, to make their support schemes more efficient and, finally, to take advantage of opportunities for international cooperation”, stressed Minister Sylikiotis.
The Council invited the European Commission to present, after thorough analysis, discussion and the required review planned by 2014, a reliable and efficient framework for RES in the EU after 2020, which will be part of the broader environment of the EU’s long-term, overall policy framework.
Safety of offshore oil and gas activities
The Cypriot Minister informed the Council on the significant progress achieved during the Cyprus Presidency on the proposed Directive on safety of offshore gas and oil prospection, exploration and production activities. The Directive aims at reducing the risks of major accidents in EU waters, as well as limiting the consequences should such accidents nonetheless occur.
The Cyprus Presidency had placed the proposed Directive high on its agenda of priorities and has worked hard on achieving progress within the Council and receiving the mandate to officially launch negotiations with the European Parliament. An important development is the smooth transition of the legal form from a Regulation to a Directive.
Moreover, according to Minister Sylikiotis the efforts by the Cyprus Presidency will continue during the Ministerial Meeting between the EU and countries in the Southeastern Mediterranean region, to be held in Cyprus on the 13th of December. The main topics to be discussed during the Ministerial Meeting are the cooperation between the EU and third countries on the safety of offshore oil and gas activities, as well as the enhancement of the security of the energy supply.
Progress report to the European Council
The Council has submitted a progress report to the European Council on six policy areas: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Internal Energy Market, Infrastructure, External Energy Relations and Nuclear Energy. In the context of the progress report, Ministers exchanged views mainly on the Commission’s Communication “Making the internal market work”. As pointed out by Minister Sylikiotis, “this is one of the 12 priority actions under the Single Market Act II and is intended to assess the state of play of the internal energy market, which must be completed by 2014”.
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