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BB200602, News in Brief

Austria, Finland set out 2006 energy priorities in line with the European Commission work programme 2006 energy activities


The internal energy market, security of supply, sustainable energy production and use, external relations and nuclear issues are the priorities of the 2006 European Union presidencies of Austria and Finland. The priorities of the programme were made public on January 5. Austria holds the presidency of the EU Council of member state governments for the first six months of this year, while Finland has it for the second. Highlights of the coming year are presented in the table below with the work programme of the European Commission adopted at the end of 2005.

In October 2005, the European Commission adopted its work programme for 2006 under the ambitious title "Unlocking Europe's full potential". This work programme is setting out its key priorities 2006.

Presidency priorities European Commission work programme
Security of supply

Work on the Decision on TEN-Energy will possibly be finalised in early 2006.
Work to enhance security of supply will be taken forward on the basis of the Communication assessing the implementation of the 2000 Green Paper on Energy Policy.
The EU-Russia and EU-OPEC dialogues (see International dimension below) will also contribute to the security of supply.

A Green Paper on secure, competitive and sustainable EU energy policy. This Green Paper should be presented at the energy council mid-March and at the spring council at the end of March
Liberalisation competition
Consideration will be given to further measures on the liberalisation of the electricity and gas markets on the basis of an assessment of their operation, including looking at competition aspects.

The fifth Commission Benchmarking Report on the Internal Energy Market opening (DG TREN services)
Final report of the sector enquiry into the EU energy sector (by DG Competition). The final results should be presented on the 22 nd of February in Brussels.

Sustainability of energy production and consumption

Improving energy efficiency
The Directive on end-use energy efficiency and energy services is likely to be finalised in early 2006. More generally, work on an Action Plan on Energy Efficiency should proceed on the basis of the consultation launched by the Green Paper, to be completed by March 2006, then initiating its assessment and preparation of the Action Plan.

Promoting renewable energy
A strategy for addressing the medium and long term time frame for renewable energy beyond 2010 should be developed on the basis of two Communications (financing of renewables, biomass Action Plan), taking into account progress towards 2010 targets on energy efficiency and in climate change negotiations.

An action plan on energy efficiency to follow up the Green Paper published in September 2005
A communication on progress towards achieving the targets for the share of RES-E (end of 2006) – Reporting obligation within the RES e Directive 2001/77/EC
A proposal for a renewable energy fund (in particular) for developing countries (start of 2006)
An Action Plan on biomass and biofuels (adopted in December 2005)
A communication on future prospects for biofuels, proposing policies beyond 2010 as well as a Communication on the review of the biofuels Directive (end of 2006) – Reporting obligation within the biofuels directive 2003/30/EC

International dimension
  • The conclusion of the EU-South East Europe Agreement establishing an energy community could be achieved during the first semester, following signature (on 25 October 2005).
  • Building on the EU-Russia Energy Permanent Partnership Council of 3 October 2005 the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue should be further re-invigorated by making progress on the implementation of the energy-related actions listed under the Common Economic Space.
  • Particular attention will be paid to the review and update of the energy and nuclear safety chapters of the Northern Dimension with a view to adopting its new political document by the end of 2006.
A communication on the development of energy markets with neighbouring countries
Nuclear energy

The Presidencies will seek to

  • give practical effect to the conclusions on nuclear safety and the safe management of radioactive waste and spent fuel adopted by the Council on 28 June 2004. This work should be completed, leading to a final report on the consultation process initiated by these conclusions by the end of 2006. A Directive on safe shipment of radioactive waste should be adopted in the first semester;
  • find a satisfactory resolution of issues affecting the definition of a new approach for nuclear safeguards, clarifying the respective roles of Euratom, Member States and the IAEA.

Decision on a Joint Undertaking for nuclear waste management research (start of 2006)
Communication on nuclear energy in the EU, including an indicative nuclear programme for the Community (end of 2006)

Climate Change 
Work will include the review of the Emission Trading Directive and the new phase of the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP), which will contribute to the achievement of the Kyoto commitments by the Community and the Member States. On the international level , the emphasis will be on promoting a process aimed at a global agreement on the development of the UN climate regime after 2012. Key tasks in this respect will be the preparation of and the participation in the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the COP/MOP 2 of the Kyoto Protocol.

A Green Paper on adaptation to climate change, exploring how to respond to "the increasing adverse effects" of global warming.
Legislation to bring aviation into the EU carbon emission trading scheme.
Legislation revising the 2001 national emission ceilings directive; a key implementation measure for the recent EU air quality strategy, Cafe, setting new targets for four key pollutants.


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