EU nations struggle to agree on common energy policy

EU nations struggle to agree on common energy policy
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First Published: Fri, Feb 16 2007. 12 48 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Feb 16 2007. 12 48 AM IST
AFP
BRUSSELS: European Union energy ministers met on 15 February to seek agreement on a common energy policy, amid opposition to European Commission proposals to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The 27 member states have different ideas on reaching the objective,” of a common energy policy, said German economy minister Michael Glos, who chaired the ministers’ meeting in Brussels.“We’ll be seeking a compromise deal,” he added. “My goal is to encourage the European Commission to pursue a path favourable to competition.”
“We are searching for a consensus,” said Spanish industry minister Joan Clos, before the meeting began, adding that a working ministerial dinner on Wednesday had helped to move things forward.The ministers are seeking to draw up an agreed text for an EU summit in March at which the energy issue will be high on the agenda.
Last month the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, sketched out 10 key points for a common energy policy for the 27 member states, deemed vital amid global warming and soaring energy prices.
But the ministers went into the talks divided over two main planks of the Commission’s wide-ranging energy proposals to help reduce the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.One is to increase the use of renewable energy to 20 % of the EU’s total energy consumption by 2020. The current level is just 7 %.The Commission also proposed that bio-fuels should make up at least 10 % of vehicle fuel by the same time.
According to diplomatic sources, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden support the idea of minium required levels of renewables.Others, including Britain, France and Finland are opposed, the sources said.
Another key proposal is the “unbundling” of energy companies, splitting up the production and distribution sectors. According to the EU’s executive arm this would stimulate competition and investment and bring prices down for the consumer.
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First Published: Fri, Feb 16 2007. 12 48 AM IST
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