§ Mr. Michael Brown
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on issues discussed and decisions taken at the European Energy Council meeting on 21 May.
§ Mr. Eggar
I attended the Council.
The main item on the agenda was the Commission's proposal, in continuation of its internal energy market programme, for two directives on the liberalisation of the electricity and gas markets. Those measures have the full support of the United Kingdom, which regards the completion of the internal energy market as a high priority. Some other member states do not support the Commission's proposals. No conclusionis were agreed following the Council discussion and the draft directives will go forward for further negotiation.
The Council adopted the directive on hot water boilers and reached a common position on the proposal for a directive on energy consumption labelling of domestic appliances, both of which come under the SAVE initiative on energy efficiency. The Commission outlined a proposal for a further SAVE directive, which would require member states to take action on building certification, heat metering, third party financing, buildings insulation, inspection of heating equipment, inspection of vehicles, and energy audits. The Commission related that proposal and other programmes, THERMIE and ALTENER, to stabilisation of CO2 emissions and announced its intention to propose a CO2/energy tax soon.
A mandate for the Commisson to open negotiations for Community accession to the IEA was deferred pending detailed examination of the proposed directive on oil crisis measures. The Commission presented a communication on oil markets and the refining industry and also a proposal for a directive on the conditions for granting and exercising authorisation for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons.