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News in Brief, BB200803

Spring Council 2008: Renewable Energy Directive should be adopted in 2009


Europe’s Heads of State and Government met in Brussels on 13-14 March for their Spring Summit. Following on from last year’s Spring Summit, where the 20% binding renewables target by 2020 was agreed, the Heads of State approved an ambitious timetable for adopting the Commission’s proposal on the promotion and use of renewable energy, the Renewable Energy Directive.

The Slovenian Prime Minister and current President of the European Council, Janez Janša, stated that the timetable, as advocated by the Council, “should result in an agreement … before the end of 2008 and consequently allow for adoption … at the latest early in 2009.”

Expressed his pleasure at the progress made, he said, "We have adopted an ambitious timeframe and confirmed key principles for the adoption of the energy and climate change package".

The Council also agreed some general broad principles that should be applied to the package, such as “the need for flexibility in achieving national… renewable targets”, acknowledging the “importance of effective national support schemes” and the importance of “an effective flexibility mechanism based on guarantees of origin”.

Concerning agreement on the internal electricity market legislation – the so-called ‘third legislative package’ – the Heads of State called for a political agreement by June this year, stating that an “effective, fully-functioning and interconnected internal energy market is an essential condition for secure, sustainable and competitive supply of energy in Europe.”

Concerning research, the Heads of State emphasised “the need for sustained investment in research and development and an active take-up of new technologies in energy, as outlined recently in the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan”.

The next steps concerning the draft Renewable Energy Directive are the Energy Working Party discussions – the first two of which have already taken place – to be held in April, May and June. An unofficial Energy Working Party meeting will be held on the trading of guarantees of origin by the French Presidency, at which it is expected that Spain and Germany will propose amendments designed to improve the Commission text. The Presidency will then prepare a progress report ahead of the debate by Energy Ministers at the next Energy Council on 6 June.

The full Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council (13/14 March 2008) can be found here:


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