Pat Rabbitte, the Minister for Energy met with Hermann Van Rompuy, President of the European Council in advance of next week’s meeting of Heads of State & Government.
The Minister emphasised the desirability of the European Council attaching priority to accelerating the energy efficiency agenda, pointing out that it has the capacity to create significant employment while reducing and better managing energy consumption. The President acknowledged the importance of the efficiency dimension and committed to engaging with Heads of Government on the issue.
The meeting took place in advance of the European Council next week, where Heads of State or Government will discuss energy policy, in the context of the EU’s efforts to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness.
Minister Rabbitte, who during Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, chairs the energy and telecoms components of the Council, gave President Van Rompuy a summary of the discussions at the Informal Meeting of Energy Ministers held in Dublin last month. The topics covered by Ministers included the use of smart technologies in the control of energy consumption, financing energy efficiency, and the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources. Ministers also looked at the effects of unconventional oil and gas on energy supply competitiveness and prices.
Following the meeting, Minister Rabbitte said “It is important to achieve the correct balance between security of supply, sustainability and competitiveness in energy policy. Energy efficiency is a corner stone for all three. Additionally, substantial investment in European energy infrastructure is required to guarantee a secure energy supply, to contribute to the smooth functioning of the internal energy market and to transform the European energy system into a low-carbon system”. The Minister welcomed the European Council’s focus on energy policy. He said “We are all deeply concerned about the impact that high energy prices can have on competitiveness. The challenge for Europe is to find a balance that boosts competitiveness now while maintaining the momentum towards well established long term goals.”
The European Council will discuss energy in the context of the EU’s efforts to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness. It is expected to focus its attention on (i) the priority to be given to the completion of the Internal Energy Market and to interconnections; (ii) the need to boost investment in modern energy infrastructure; and (iii) the challenge of high energy prices.
The Minister’s meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss with President Van Rompuy the preparations for the next meeting of Energy Ministers in Luxemburg in June and how the orientations of the Heads of State or Government would be reflected in the Conclusions to be adopted by Energy Ministers.