Correspondence with Ministers October 2006 to April 2007 - European Union Committee Contents

ENERGY POLICY FOR EUROPE (5232/07, 5237/07, 5240/07, 5282/07, 5354/07, 5373/07, 5374/07, 5391/07)

Letter from the Chairman to Lord Truscott, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy, Department of Trade and Industry

  Sub-Committee B considered these documents, together with your Explanatory Memoranda, at is meeting on 26 February 2007.

  At the outset, we share your view that the Strategic Energy Review is broadly "positive for the UK" and are pleased to note that the Review reflects "informal UK discussions with the Commission". We believe that the regular review of the EU's energy policy will play a valuable role in ensuring that the policy continues to respond to the inevitable emerging and changing challenges which the EU will face in the years to come.

  As you will be aware from our report of last year, The Commission's Green Paper, "A European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy",[24] we are firmly of the view that action to unbundle distribution and supply is central to realising the internal market in energy. Such action would take the EU a significant way forward to achieving its three core energy objectives. We also endorsed the proposals for an EU-Strategic Energy Technology Plan and concluded that "developing an energy policy which is sufficiently flexible to allow the inclusion of key, low carbon technologies ... is critical to delivering sustainability".

  However we do share some of your misgivings over the Commission's recommendations contained in the related documents. We agree that, with the very different needs of 27 Member States, any targets must be flexible enough to allow the Member States to determine their own energy mix in the interests of both subsidiarity and efficiency. The Commission's proposed mandatory targets on renewable energy sources might pose a threat to this, and we will monitor closely the legislative proposals which you expect at some point in 2007.

  Similarly, we support our opposition to any moves by the Commission to advance proposals on nuclear security, which we believe should remain a matter for Member States. We were also disappointed that the review did little to take forward the idea of a more coherent external energy policy for Europe, which we strongly support.

  We would welcome an update from you following the discussions of the review in the Spring European Council, particularly on whether there now appears to be consensus between Member States on the way forward. We are content to lift scrutiny on these documents.

28 February 2007

24   41st Report of Session 2005-06, HL Paper 224. Back

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