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Brussels, 13 February 2012

Preparation of the Energy Council, 14th February 2012

The first Energy Council under the Danish Presidency will be held on 14th February 2012 in Brussels. Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger will represent the European Commission. The Council will start with an orientation debate on the Regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure. This debate will be followed by an information point from the Presidency on the state of play of negotiations on the Proposal for a Directive on Energy efficiency. The afternoon session will start with a policy debate on the Europe 2020 strategy. The Presidency will then inform the Member States on the state of play of negotiations on the Decision setting up an information exchange mechanism with regard to intergovernmental agreements between Member States and third countries in the field of energy. The Council will continue with information by the Presidency on the preparation of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The Commission will then give an update on the recent developments in external relations in the field of energy and will inform Member States on the activities of Electricity Coordination Group.

Proposal for a Regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure: Orientation debate

In order to facilitate further progress on Chapter II – 'Identification process of projects of common interest' and related aspects of the Danish Presidency invited Ministers to hold an orientation debate.

This will be the second orientation debate on the proposal aiming to build a more integrated and powerful energy network in Europe (see IP/11/1200 and MEMO/11/710 of 19 October 2011).

The legislative proposal's main goal is to ensure financing of the needed infrastructure by the private sector. The Commission supports these new measures meant to provide an encouraging legal and regulatory framework for infrastructure investments for the private sector.

In particular the Commission will underline the need to start the additional preliminary work to conclude the first stage of the identification of 'projects of common interest' to accelerate their development.

Europe 2020 strategy: Policy debate

The Presidency proposed to steer the debate around the obstacles to the achievement of the Europe 2020 energy objectives and the measures in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy which have the biggest potential to contribute to growth and job creation.

The Commission will underline that energy is a key pillar of the Europe 2020 strategy and is considered as one of the most pressing challenges the EU has to face. The European Union can revitalise its economy by tackling the energy/climate challenge and making the necessary investments in energy.

Any Other business:

Under AOB, the Presidency will inform the Council on the state of play of the negotiations on the Directive on Energy Efficiency (see IP/11/770 and MEMO/11/440 of 22 June 2011).

It will also inform on the ongoing negotiations the Decision setting up an information exchange mechanism with regard to intergovernmental agreements between Member States and third countries in the field of energy (see IP/11/1005 of 7 September 2011)

The Presidency will provide information on the state of play of preparations for Rio+20, the UN conference on sustainable development that will take place from 20 to 22 June 2012 in Brazil, and in particular on the energy related aspects on the Rio-agenda.

After that, the Commission will debrief on the energy-related international developments since the last Council on 24 November. These will include the impact of Iran sanctions on the energy supply, the Southern Corridor, the Russia-Ukraine negotiations and the Southern Mediterranean.

The last point will be the presentation by the Commission of the activities of the electricity coordination group.

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