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Considering  that the improvement in the rational  use of energy resources is
an essential contribution to the  European Union's strategy to  stabilize CO2
emissions at the  1990 level  by the year  2000, the  Commission has  adopted
today, on the initiative of Commissioner Christos  PAPOUTSIS, responsible for
Energy,  a proposal  for  a  Council  decision  for a  SAVE  II  multi-annual
Programme to promote energy efficiency in the European Union.

The SAVE  II Programme,  which is proposed  to last  5 years (1996-2000)  and
have a  budget  of 150  MECU, aims  to  continue  and expand  the  activities
established under the  SAVE I Programme (Council  Decision 91/565/CEE), which
is  coming  to  an  end  on  31  December  1995  and  also  incorporates  the
Electricity End  Use  Programme (PACE)  and  the  Regional and  Urban  Energy
Management Action (PERU).  All these actions have complementary goals and the
SAVE  II Programme  provides  a comprehensive  framework for  undertaking all
these related activities.

The SAVE II Programme will have the following elements: 

1.   Reinforced existing actions:

   -   labelling  and standardisation  actions in  the area  of energy  using
       equipment,
   -   pilot actions to be carried out by appropriate networks,
   -   targeted pilot actions,
   -   dissemination of information.

2.   New actions:

  -  monitoring of energy efficiency progress at national and EU level,
  -  specific  actions in favour of greater cohesion between Member States in
     the  field of  the stablishment  of policies  aimed at  efficient energy
     management,
  -  specific action  aimed at  improving energy management  at regional  and
     urban level,
  -  actions aimed  at establishing energy  efficiency as a  criterion within
     existing EU strategic programmes.

After  the   Commission's  decision,  Commissioner  PAPOUTSIS  expressed  his
satisfaction and  emphasized: "today's  proposal will  make a very  important
contribution  not only  to the accomplishment  of our environmental strategy,
but  will also  help  to  improve and  increase  the competitiveness  of  the
European  industry, protect the  jobs of those working  today in this sector,
create new jobs and maintain them by providing export markets."

Indeed,  at the  recent  meeting of  the  Conference of  the Parties  to  the
Climate Change Convention in Berlin,  the vital role of energy efficiency  in
achieving  the  Union's  environmental  objectives  was  stressed.  The  SAVE
Programme  has,  since   1992,  been  the  cornerstone  of  the  Union's  CO2
limitation strategy. Although operating  with limited funding, SAVE  has made
a significant  contribution to  the rational use  of energy  in the  European
Union.

On  the other hand,  the Union  is still,  and will continue  to be,  a major
importer  of primary energy. Supplies  of fossil fossil  fuel are limited and
the actions  aimed at improving  the way  in which  it is used  will have  an
important impact on the life of these finite reserves.

Furthermore,  energy  is   a  cost  factor  for  the  European  industry.  As
Commissioner PAPOUTSIS  said, "while industry is  very conscious  of the need
to  keep energy prices  low, it  should also be  aware that a  prudent use of
energy can  lead  to substantial  gains  in  competitiveness." SAVE  II  will
attempt to  harness these energy efficiency  gains which  can be substantial,
thereby  increasing   industrial  competitiveness  and   at  the  same   time
protecting the jobs of those currently employed in industry.

There  is also  much empirical evidence  to prove  that energy  investment in
demand reduction creates jobs in numbers much higher  than those generated by
investments  on the  supply  side. Energy  efficiency  could therefore  be an
important  new  generator of  jobs  and  could  maintain  that employment  by
providing future export markets for European energy service expertise.

Another important element of  SAVE II is the emphasis on its  contribution to
economic and  social cohesion  within the  Union. Many  of the  disadvantaged
regions suffer from a profligate use of energy. It has been established  that
the monetary savings  derived from energy efficiency tend to circulate within
the  local economy and can  act as  an engine for local  development. This is
particularly  important in  the  public sector,  where  the saving  on energy
efficiency  can be  immediately  translated into  improved services  for  the
citizens or reduction in tax requirements.

In addition,  another significant element is  that regions,  or indeed entire
Member States,  can reap  important benefits  by learning  from the  advanced
regions  how  to  carefully manage  their  energy  resources. Therefore,  the
cohesion  of energy  efficiency  activity will  have  the effect  of spurring
economic activity and will contribute to economic and social cohesion.

The  actions  proposed by  SAVE  II  will  complement  the current  and  past
Community efforts  to develop  new energy technologies.  The current proposal
is a  considerable  strengthening of  the  previous  SAVE I  Programme.  This
strengthening has  been partly  accomplished by  extending the  scope of  its
activities  and  partly  by  incorporating  the  Regional  and  Urban  Energy
Management action and the Electricity End-use Programme into the proposal.

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