§ Mr. Norman Lamont
The Council of Ministers (Energy) of the European Community met on 3 March.
The Council discussed the oil situation and a review by the Commission of the Community's energy objectives for 153W 1990. There was general agreement that the measures agreed by the Council on 27 November 1980 and the increased production by certain OPEC countries had led to a singificant improvement in Community oil markets. But the situation should be kept under close review and the Commission would examine whether there were any specific and effective action which could be taken if supply problems recur. The Commission will report on this remit to the June meeting of the Council. I said that we would participate constructively but without commitment in the study, and stressed the need for parallel work in the International Energy Agency so as to involve the United States and Japan.
In the discussion of 1990 objectives I emphasised the importance we attached to the implementation by all member countries of the principles of economic energy pricing agreed by the Council in May 1980. The Commission will shortly submit to the Council a communication on pricing policy which we asked should include material on the extent to which disparities in prices between the United Kingdom and some Continental countries are justified by disparities in costs. I also made clear the Government's regret that so little progress had been made in developing a Community policy for coal and that the Commission had not responded effectively to my letter of 4 October 1979 to Commissioner Brunner urging Community support for coal production. The Council recognised the importance of indigenous primary sources of energy, including coal, and asked the Commission to propose any necessary measures to achieve the agreed objectives.