17. SAVE II PROGRAMME
Letter from James Clappison, MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State, Department of the Environment, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman
of the Committee
We have had some correspondence in recent months
about the proposal for a Council Decision establishing the SAVE
II energy efficiency programme. I am now writing to inform you
that the proposal was adopted, as an "A" Point item,
at the Council of Culture Ministers on Monday, 16 December.
We had satisfied ourselves, before this decision was taken,
that, as the proposal was in line with that which your Committee
cleared earlier in the year, there was no need for further Parliamentary
Scrutiny. But I had wanted to ensure that you were aware of our
view before the proposal went forward for final adoption. I very
much regret, therefore, that because of the rapid progress on
this proposal in the past few days, I was unable to do this.
Your Committee considered an Explanatory Memorandum dated
27 June. As indicated in that Explanatory Memorandum, a Common
Position on the proposal was adopted at a Council of Ministers
on 8 July, with the proposal then being submitted to the European
Parliament for a second reading according to the co-operation
procedure. The agreed text was the same as that submitted to
your Committee with the Explanatory Memorandum.
On 12 November, the European Parliament gave its opinion
on the second reading, recommending some 14 amendments to the
proposed Decision. The Commission subsequently re-examined the
proposal and submitted to the Council, on 2 December, a revised
proposal, taking into account the amendments proposed by the
Parliament. The official text of this Commission document is not
yet available. The Energy Council on 3 December took note of
the position, and requested the Permanent Representatives Committee
to proceed rapidly with re-examination of the proposal with a
view to getting an early decision.
The re-examined proposal was considered by the Council Working
Group on Energy on 4 December. The meeting, recognising the importance
of having the programme adopted rapidly, decided to maintain the
Common Position of the Council unchanged, i.e., in line with
the papers sent with EM No. 7618/96 dated 27 June, which the
Committee saw earlier this year. I welcome the fact that the decision
to proceed on the basis of the Common Position cleared the way
for the Decision to be adopted before the end of the current year.
As earlier Explanatory Memoranda have indicated, the UK supports
the SAVE II programme, and was happy to proceed on the basis
of the Common Position. In particular, a number of the amendments
proposed by the Commission, following those recommended by the
European Parliament, would have been unacceptable to the UK, on
policy grounds, as well as to other Member States. Adoption of
the Decision allows the Commission to make effective use of the
budget allocated to the programme for the current year - from
which a number of UK interests will benefit.
Nevertheless, I am sorry that I was not able to explain the
position to you in advance.
I am writing in similar terms to Jimmy Hood.
24 December 1996
9 Printed in Correspondence with Ministers, 5th Report, Session 1996-97, p. 23. Back