Priorities of the European Union: evidence from the Ambassador of the Czech Republic and the Minister for Europe - European Union Committee Contents


Examination of Witnesses (Question 40)

Rt Hon Caroline Flint and Mr Ananda Guha

3 FEBRUARY 2009

  Q40  Lord Hannay of Chiswick: Surely, Minister, the European Union has committed itself to a stimulus package and is looking for ways of improving infrastructure in a way that is useful. It has had on the table since the gas crisis of 2006 Commission proposals relating to interconnectors to join up the existing pipeline system, provide for gas storage and for more LNG terminals. All these are things that need to be done, not just written on pieces of paper. Is there any hope that at the March European Council—where I think energy is going to be one of the principal subjects—they will actually take some decisions instead of just sending the Commission away to re-write papers that have been re-written any number of times already?

  Caroline Flint: I think you would agree that we need to see the EU budget being used to support our energy strategic objectives and whether that is the interconnection projects (because obviously one of the concerns in the recent crisis was that gas was available in Europe but you could not get it from place to another quickly enough) or the issues around the southern corridor and I think there is more work being done to look at that as well. We see that as part of the EU economic recovery package. What we would like, as part of our agenda I suppose, in terms of the EU is to see the budget of the EU being used for things that we really do think make a long term difference to our prosperity and security. Certainly energy security and supply are key to that and I think there will be some more development around this but certainly those areas I have outlined have been earmarked as part of the economic recovery package.

  Chairman: Minister, thank you very much indeed. This has been a very useful and helpful session. You are certainly having a rather busy scrutiny week because I understand you will be with our colleagues in the Commons tomorrow. Thank you very much again.





 
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