§ 11. Mr. Simmonds
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions her Department has had with the European Commission on national energy policy. 415W
§ Mr. Wilson
This Department is in continual contact with the Commission on a wide range of European energy issues affecting national energy policy. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry met Mrs. de Palacio on 29 November last year when they discussed energy liberalisation, the Commission's Green Paper on security of energy supply, coal subsidies, the need to ensure fair competition in the context of ownership by vertically integrated companies, and nuclear energy including safety standards. I attended the Energy Council on 4 December during which discussion focused mainly on the internal EU market in electricity and gas and on the Commission's Green Paper on security of energy supply. The Council also discussed the proposal for a directive on the energy performance of buildings, on climate change and on the justification or otherwise for continued state aid to the coal industry after expiry of the European Coal and Steel Community treaty.