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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 30 November 2012

Preparation of the Energy Council, 3 December 2012

The Energy Council under the Cyprus Presidency will be held on 3 December 2012 in Brussels. Energy Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger will represent the European Commission.

The Ministers will be informed by the Presidency on the state of play on the safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities dossier.

Following that, Ministers will adopt a set of Council conclusions on the Strategy for Renewable Energy and continue with an exchange of views on the European Council follow-up in the field of energy.

Finally, under the AOB points, the Presidency will provide information on the agreement reached with the EP on the guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure. In addition, both the Commission and the Presidency will provide information on the latest developments in international relations in the field of energy. The Council will conclude with the presentation of the incoming Irish Presidency work programme.

Proposal for a Regulation on safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities: Progress report

The proposal (see IP/11/1260 and MEMO/11/740 of 27 October 2011) aims at ensuring that legal requirements for offshore oil and gas activities in the Union meet the standards of the world's best performing regimes. The proposal defines basic elements of an efficient EU-wide regulatory regime inspired by North Sea regulatory regimes complemented by acknowledged best practices. These involve notably: placing responsibility for the integrity of operations on the operator, establishing independent, well resourced, competent authorities, requiring individual risk assessment for each installation or operation and focus on prevention.

Ministers will take note of the Presidency report on the safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, a file which is currently at the stage of final negotiations between Parliament and Council.

The Commission will call the Member States to seek an early agreement with the European Parliament still under the Cyprus Presidency or early under the Irish Presidency.

Communication from the Commission on a Strategy for Renewable Energy: adoption of Council conclusions

Ministers will adopt conclusions on the Commission communication (see IP/12/571 of 6 June 2012) which explores the challenges to deliver the EU's renewables objective while at the same time ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness.

The discussions on the draft conclusions have progressed well in the Council focusing on the importance of completing the internal market, reforming support schemes, using cooperation mechanisms, building infrastructure and smart grids to enable consumers to play a greater role in the energy market and strengthening our technology and sustainability policies for the medium term. There is a broad support for the document, perceived as a balanced text.

The adoption of the Council's conclusions on the Strategy for Renewable Energy is the basis for further discussions with all stakeholders for a long-term European framework.

Internal Energy Market:

The Council will have an exchange of views based on a progress report by the Presidency on the main steps and initiatives in response to the European Council Conclusions of 4 February 2011 and on the presentation by the Commission of the Communication on the Internal Energy Market (see IP/12/1214 of 15 November 2012). Discussions will likely focus on progress made so far and on efforts ahead in view of completing the internal energy market by the 2014 deadline set by the European Council.

Any other business:

Under AOB, the Presidency will provide information on the agreement reached with the EP on the guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure and repealing Decision 1364/2006. The legislative proposal (see IP/11/1200 and MEMO/11/710 of 19 October 2011) aims at creating a European framework for infrastructure investment to implement EU 2020 energy and climate objectives. It therefore foresees a new method of identifying projects of common interest, accelerated permit granting procedures and enhanced public involvement, improved regulatory framework and eligibility criteria to provide EU financial assistance for energy infrastructure projects under the Connecting Europe Facility

The Commission will also debrief on the energy-related international developments since the last Council of 15 June 2012. These will include the state of play of the following topics: Energy Charter, Energy Community, EU-China, Southern Corridor, South Stream, EU-US, EU-Russia, Strategic Group for International Energy Cooperation, intergovernmental energy agreements.


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