§ Mr. Andrew MacKay
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement about the meeting of the European Community Council of Energy Ministers which met on 3 June.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
I represented the United Kingdom at the Council of Energy Ministers on 3 June.
The Council discussed the Chernobyl nuclear accident. It emphasised the importance of learning lessons from the accident both internationally and within the Community. It agreed that the appropriate forum for action was the International Atomic Energy Agency. Co-ordination between the Community and its member states should take place within the framework of discussions at the IAEA. It noted that the Commission intended to place a communication before the Council shortly on the consequences of the Chernobyl accident.
Considerable progress was made on the draft regulation establishing a new regime governing the payment of state aids to the coal industry. The only outstanding point concerns the duration of the proposed regime. Once that is settled the Community will have an agreed mechanism enabling the Government to give support to the coal industry for some years ahead. This is an essential condition to bringing the coal industry to economic viability. The Council was unable to agree the proposed Community energy objectives for 1995. I regret that Denmark was not able to accept the wording of the Community's objectives.
The Council agreed the adoption of the draft resolution on the Community orientation to develop new and renewable energy sources, subject to the comments of the European Parliament. This is a useful endorsement of the value of renewable energy sources where they are competitive.
The Council had a further discussion on the oil market situation. It invited the Commission to continue to monitor developments in the market and keep the Council informed. The Community would continue to work towards promoting the opening up of the other major 653W industrial markets so that exports of Middle East refined products are not unduly concentrated on the Community alone.