HC Deb 15 January 1996 vol 269 c351W
Sir Michael Grylls

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Energy Council meeting on 20 December 1995. [8692]

Mr. Eggar

The Council considered several issues and received reports on matters of interest. I represented the United Kingdom. Progress was made in a number of areas. In particular, political agreement was reached on a proposed directive on energy efficiency standards for fridges and freezers, the aim of which is to establish minimum standards and thus help to limited CO2 emissions. The directive provides for a 15 per cent. reduction in electricity consumption for all new models over three years.

The Council also adopted a common position on the Commission's proposed regulation on the registration of crude oil imports.

It was not possible to reach a common position on the electricity liberalisation proposal. Ministers agreed however that there had been a convergence of positions during the Spanish presidency and that work should be continued during the Italian presidency with a view to possible agreement early in 1996.

The Council considered a Commission proposal for the repeal and/or simplification of several EU legislative measures in the energy efficiency, oil and gas sub-sectors. In particular, political agreement was reached on a Commission proposal to simplify regulation 1056/72 on the notification of investments.

Also, the Council received presentations/reports from the Commission on a number of items. These included a presentation of its energy policy White Paper; a report on gas supply and prospects to 2020; and its proposal for a second SAVE programme, aimed at encouraging best use of energy efficiency technology.

The presidency gave a progress report on informal contacts with the European Parliament on Energy TENs prior to the convening of the conciliation committee. Progress reports were also given on the energy charter treaty, SYNERGY and on the energy aspects of the Barcelona Euro-Med conference.