The member states’ energy ministers remain opposed to binding energy efficiency targets (sought by the European Parliament) and a freeze on CO2 emissions allowances.
The debate at an informal Energy Council, on 19 April in Horsens, Denmark, gave them the opportunity to confirm their positions on this issue (1).
Council President Martin Lidegaard (Denmark), who was particularly pessimistic upon arriving at the conference centre (see Europolitics 4409), seemed more optimistic after the debate. He will visit the different capitals starting next week with the aim of working out an agreement with Parliament by June. A source close to the Danish EU Presidency nevertheless suggested that “at least two or three more negotiating sessions with the EP will be needed in the meantime”.
To whet the ministers’ appetites, an expert briefed them on energy efficiency initiatives in other countries (United States, China, Australia and certain member states, Denmark among them). While the overall objective is the same, the methods and means put into achieving energy efficiency vary.
Lidegaard and the European Commission are relieved on one aspect: all the member states confirm that an energy efficiency directive is necessary and that agreement should be possible.