Clean Energy package is top of the agenda for EU Energy Council
The European Commission's 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' package was the main theme of the meeting of the European Energy Council on 26 June 2017, which brought together EU energy ministers, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, and European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action Miguel Arias Cañete. The Council members focused in particular on the package's proposals for a revised Energy Efficiency Directive and a revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The Energy Council also adopted the new Regulation on energy efficiency labelling for products, which means consumers are better informed about how much energy is used by the appliances they buy. The Ministers were also updated on the progress of the proposals for the Governance of the Energy Union, a revised Renewable Energy Directive, and a revised Regulation on the European electricity market.
Energy efficiency was the most important issue for the discussions: EU Energy Ministers debated the Commission's proposals for the energy efficiency target to be achieved by EU countries by 2030. The Ministers sought to agree on the level of this target, its nature and measures to meet it. The discussions on the revised Energy Performance of Buildings legislation included such aspects as the development of charging points for electric vehicles in the buildings and the use of renewable energy in energy-efficient buildings. Ministers also focused on how electricity interconnections are bringing EU countries' energy markets closer together.
The members of the Council also heard updates on the EU's relations with non-EU countries and organisations in the area of energy. In addition, there were presentations on the Commission's request for a mandate from EU countries to negotiate on their behalf with Russia over the building of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. Finally, the energy policy priorities and work programme of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU, due to begin on 1 July, were presented.
Update: in the concluding press conference, Commissioner Arias Cañete welcomed the progress made so far with the 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' package, but stressed that additional efforts will be needed in discussions with the European Parliament to raise the level of ambition of individual proposals and to comply with the EU's Paris Agreement commitments.