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BB200611, News in Brief

Ecofin Council Engaged in European Energy Policy Debate

22.11.2006

At the Ecofin council on 10 October the Ministers of Finance endorsed key messages on the future energy policy for Europe to be taken into account by the Commission when preparing the Action Plan for the 2007 spring Summit.

The Ministers emphasised the importance of “ a coordinated European reaction to rising oil prices” and agreed that letting price signals work is crucial to increasing energy efficiency and stimulating R&D investment. Where short-term targeted measures are taken to alleviate the impact of higher oil prices on the poorer sections of the population, they should avoid introducing distortionary effects.

The EU’s growing dependence on imported energy is raising concern among Ministers. Another key message highlights the ministers’ concern for an urgent need for boosting energy investments in order to reduce the external vulnerability of the EU energy system. They stress innovation, diversification of energy supply, improvement of energy efficiency and promotion of renewable sources all have a part to play.

The attendees of the Ecofin council furthermore called for more clarity and stability of the policy frameworks and wished to strengthen the role of international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB). At the same time they also emphasized the need for greater transparency of markets, especially regarding data on the state of Community oil stocks.

Further consensus was achieved on the importance of the need to advance the development of a single European Energy market, supporting unbundling of production, distribution and transmission activities, as well as enhancing regional energy integration and addressing the lack of physical connection between member states.

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