Brussels, 15 December 2003
15988/03 (Presse 370)
2554th Council meeting - Transport, Telecommunications and Energy - Brussels, 15 December 2003
ECO-DESIGN REQUIREMENTS FOR ENERGY-USING PRODUCTS 6
SECURITY OF NATURAL GAS SUPPLY 7
ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE IN A WIDER EUROPE 7
EURO-MEDITERRANEAN COOPERATION 13
OTHER BUSINESS 14
Follow-up to the informal Council of Energy and Environment Ministers (Montecatini, July 2003) 14
Package on energy infrastructure and security of supply 14
International partnership for the hydrogen economy 14
Energy Charter 15
EU-Russia energy dialogue 15
Ministerial Conference on the regional energy market of South East Europe 15
ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE
The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:
The Governments of the Acceeding States were represented as follows:
ECO-DESIGN REQUIREMENTS FOR ENERGY-USING PRODUCTS
The Council held a policy debate on the proposal for a Framework Directive setting eco-design requirements for Energy Using Products, providing guidelines for the continuation of work under the next Presidency.
The objective of the Commission proposal is to create a comprehensive and coherent legislative framework for addressing eco-design requirements with the aim of:
The Commission proposes to apply this draft Directive to any product using energy to perform the function for which it was designed, manufactured and put on the market, and to cover all energy sources, although it is likely that only those using electricity, solid, liquid and gaseous fuels will be the subject of implementing measures.
From the debate, which was based on general questions relating to the structure and the scope of the Directive, and its interaction with national measures, the following main ideas emerged:
SECURITY OF NATURAL GAS SUPPLY
The Council unanimously agreed on a general approach on the proposal for a Directive concerning measures to safeguard security of natural gas supply. The Commission, for its part, could not support the compromise text put forward by the Presidency.
The general approach aims to achieve an adequate level for the security of gas supply, the proper functioning of the internal market being only secondary. The means of achieving security of supply are left largely to the Member States, in particular the definition of the role and responsibilities of market players, the specification of security of supply standards and the choice of the instruments to be used to comply with these standards.
In the event of a gas supply crisis, the text provides for a solidarity mechanism based on a three step approach comprising reactions of the industry, measures by Member States and, if appropriate, action at Community level whereby the Commission, in consultation with the Gas Coordination Group established by the text, may provide guidance to Member States or, if necessary, submit appropriate proposals to the Council.
In the light of the substance of the proposed compromise text, the Council has agreed to use Article 100 of the Treaty establishing the European Community as the legal basis instead of Article 95, as there are no longer any harmonising provisions to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market. As a consequence of this change, the European Parliament will be reconsulted by the Council.
ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE IN A WIDER EUROPE
RECALLING its conclusions of May 2003 on "International relations in the field of energy" and of 13/14 October 2003 "on the implementation of the Wider Europe-New Neighbourhood Initiative"(1);
REAFFIRMING the three objectives of energy policies in the EU, i.e. security of supply, competitiveness and protection of the environment; and UNDERLINING the importance of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources for a sustainable energy system;
NOTES that Energy has a pivotal role for the development of the European Union's relations with its neighbours and partners and that key issues in this respect include:
WELCOMES the Commission "Communication on the development of energy policy for the enlarged European Union, its neighbours and partner countries" including:
RECALLS that the new neighbourhood policies should be complementary to the existing framework for EU and Member States' relations with Russia, the Eastern European countries, and the Southern Mediterranean partners, as developed in the context of the relevant agreements, common strategies, the Northern Dimension Initiative and of the Barcelona Process. They should encourage and support policies of the New Eastern and Southern Neighbours aimed at coming closer to the EU. Implementation of existing agreements remains a priority;
RECALLS the importance of the role of the Energy Charter Treaty in supporting long-term co-operation between the EU and its neighbours and partners by promoting the investment in energy facilities, the free trade in energy and the uninterrupted transit of energy. UNDERLINES that the Russian Federation should be further encouraged to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty and seek agreement to the Transit Protocol; CONSIDERS that also transit and supplier countries in the Maghreb should be encouraged to follow the principles of the Energy Charter Treaty;
UNDERLINES the important synergies between measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy co-operation, the central role of the Kyoto Protocol and the potential of its flexibility mechanisms for enhancing co-operation between the EU and its neighbours; STRESSES therefore the urgency of Russian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, as emphasised at the informal meeting of energy and environment Ministers in Montecatini (18-20 July 2003);
STRESSES the importance of the principle of environmental and economic reciprocity as prerequisite for the development of a wider European energy market;
NOTES the role which Trans-European Networks (TENs) play in supporting the economy and contributing to ensuring security of supply i.a. by stimulating commercial electricity and gas projects and NOTES the Commission's intention to revise the TENs mechanism to allow for eligibility and financing of projects identified in the Communication, referred to in paragraph 4, before the end of the year 2003;
TAKES note of the intention of the Commission - expressed in its Communication "Paving the way" - to assess the co-ordination between existing financial instruments, as well as the possible creation, beyond 2006, of a new Neighbourhood Instrument , applicable to all the areas covered by the Union's existing co-operation programmes in the border areas;
AGREES that, in order to enhance energy co-operation and to improve interconnections with neighbouring countries there is a need to accelerate the volume of investments in infrastructure and enhance interoperability, simplify authorisation procedures and improve the investment climate and the social acceptability of infrastructures necessary to fulfil the general interest of the European consumers; UNDERLINES in this context the crucial role of industry in increasing investment in infrastructure;
RECALLS that public authorities should endeavour to encourage sufficient investment in gas and electricity infrastructure by streamlining authorisation procedures and removing unnecessary barriers to investment in order to implement the internal energy market, facilitate efficient competition , energy efficiency and safeguard security of supply.
The Council HIGHLIGHTS,
As regards the EU-Russia energy dialogue and the Northern Dimension
the importance of this dialogue with the aim of establishing an EU-Russia energy partnership; SUPPORTS in this context the joint statements adopted at the end of the EU-Russia Summits of 31 May 2003 and of 6 November 2003 in which both parties agreed that the momentum of the energy dialogue should be maintained;
the importance of long term contracts under competitive conditions, which remain a key contribution to the EU security of supply, and the important progress reached in finding a solution as regards destination clauses within the competition provisions of the EC Treaty;
that the Commission and the Russian Government have started preliminary discussions designed to progressively reach equivalent high levels of market opening and fair market access, as well as environmental protection and safety standards including as regards nuclear safety; Similar efforts should be undertaken regarding the gas sector, leading to equal levels of market opening;
that on the basis of these discussions and through direct contacts between the transmission operators of Russia and the neighbouring countries, options should be examined that would lead to an increased and progressive interconnection of the Russian electricity network with that of continental Europe, taking into account requirements of reliability and security of the grid and the need to ensure trade in electricity and gas in a non-discriminatory manner and taking into account the principle of economic and environmental reciprocity;
that, in parallel with developments leading to the opening of the electricity market, further work needs to be done with the authorities of the Russian Federation towards the realisation of a common regulatory space to enhance the security and efficiency of supplies of natural gas and to connect the isolated gas networks of North-Eastern and Eastern EU member and accession countries to the main gas transmission lines from Russia to the continental Europe;
that the co-operation between the EU, Member States and Russia, including its regions, should be increased with a view to implementing modern energy saving and energy efficiency technologies and the increased use of renewable and local energy sources;
as regards the Baltic Sea Region, the results of the Vilnius Ministerial meeting (20 November 2002) and that energy issues will play a prominent role in the Northern Dimension and its second Action Plan 2004-2006 which provides a common framework for the promotion of policy dialogue and concrete co-operation; and UNDERLINES the importance of the key objectives identified in the Action Plan, namely:
As regards the Euro-Mediterranean Co-operation
the results of the Athens ministerial meeting (21 May 2003) and the decision to establish an integrated regional electricity market in the Maghreb region and to implement the necessary steps towards the eventual creation of a Euro-Maghreb Electricity Market, taking i.a. due account of:
the infrastructure projects listed in the Ministerial Declaration of Athens, with a key role played by commercial entities in developing and financing these projects;
the need of identifying and promoting interconnection projects of common interest to be integrated into the framework of the Euro Mediterranean co-operation process;
the initiative of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to co-operate in the framework of a Technical Working Group including Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the European Commission with a view to
the agreement at Ministerial Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Rome to further promote energy co-operation in the region, notably by
As regards South-East Europe
the importance of pursuing the development of energy co-operation in South-East Europe, establishing open, reliable and competitive markets;
the follow-up to the Athens Process on regional co-operation with the final aim to integrate this regional energy market into the wider Internal Energy Market that would underpin the present membership and method of working, pointing at the vital role of the EU, the countries of the region and the neighbouring EU Member States directly involved in this process;
the Commission proposals leading to a regional South-East Europe gas market, based on the acquis communautaire but tailored to regional necessities and proposals preparing for a better co-ordination of donors' activities;
the initiative of the Commission to propose the extension of the internal energy market to the region as a whole, on a legally binding basis;
As regards areas of heightened interest with respect to neighbouring and partner countries
the importance of the Ukrainian gas transit system for the security of supply of the EU and the need to study the further integration of the Ukrainian electricity and gas systems with the Internal Energy Market;
the need for closer co-operation with the producer countries of the Caspian Basin; INDICATES in this context the importance of promoting energy market reforms in the countries concerned;
As regards relations with all the EU's neighbouring countries and partners
that methods and instruments for promoting energy co-operation between EU Member States and neighbouring countries could be developed by
the need for working with existing and potential future suppliers of energy (especially gas and oil) into the EU, in order to identify and, where possible, to address non-commercial barriers to energy imports;
the need to maintain safe and effective networks for energy and for common requirements relating to safety management systems, control of external interference, information to the public, emergency planning, systems of inspection and accident reporting;
the need for concerted action between the EU, neighbouring and partner countries, notably in the framework of the International Maritime Organisation to ensure the highest possible safety standards for the maritime transportation of oil;
that considerations should be given to the possible alternative of transporting oil by pipelines where technically, economically and environmentally feasible;
that the Galileo satellite navigation system may in the future offer significant opportunities for enhancing the security and safety of pipelines and for the transport of energy products by sea;
the importance to put in place the necessary infrastructure to satisfy the domestic consumption needs of the enlarged EU, in particular to ensure the future supply of gas to the European Union, and that adequate infrastructure is necessary for the creation of a fully integrated market;
that the commitment, both in political and financial terms, of the EU to reinforcing and diversifying Community gas supplies is vital to permit the enlarged European market to function effectively;
that existing as well as possible new financing instruments, including those of the EU, the EIB and EBRD should be better co-ordinated and co-operation between these institutions should be strengthened;
the importance of energy co-operation in the context of the proposed new "proximity instrument";
the ongoing discussions on the possible establishment of specific measures in order to reduce political risks for infrastructure investment;
the need to take due account of the TEN priority projects and the projects described in the neighbouring countries' Communication and to consider future proposals by the Commission with regard to the possible inclusion of oil pipelines in the framework of TENs."
The Council took note of the information given by the Presidency on the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Energy Ministers held in Rome on 1 and 2 December.
The Conference adopted a Ministerial Declaration (15767/03) which was forwarded to the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Affairs Ministers held in Naples.
The Presidency reminded delegations of the mutual understanding achieved at Montecatini between Energy and Environment Ministers, especially as regards the effective contribution that energy policies can make to sustainable development objectives. The Presidency briefed the Council on the outcome of the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (Milan).
In this context, Commissioner Loyola de Palacio underlined the importance of the package on infrastructure and security of supply adopted on Wednesday 10 December.
= Communication on energy infrastructure and security of supply
= Directive concerning measures to safeguard security of electricity supply and infrastructure investment
= Regulation on conditions for access to gas transmission networks
= Decision laying down a series of guidelines for trans-European energy networks and repealing Decisions 96/391/EC and 1229/2003/EC
= Directive on energy end-use efficiency and energy services
The Council took note of the presentation by Commissioner Loyola de Palacio of the package on energy infrastructure and security of supply adopted by the Commission on Wednesday 10 December.
The Council took note of the information given by Commissioner Loyola de Palacio on the United States-led initiative to create the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy, launched at a ministerial meeting in Washington on 20 November 2003.
The Council was informed of work carried out in this field within the European Union, in particular the launching of a project on clean urban transport for Europe with a fleet of 27 hydrogen fuelled fuel cell buses; the setting up of a contact group with industry and stakeholders to envisage strategies towards the horizon of 2020; a hydrogen and fuel cell high level group to develop a European vision and a European Platform for the sustainable hydrogen economy with public and private entities.
Commissioner Loyola de Palacio draw the Council's attention to the latest developments in the Energy Charter process.
The Council was informed by Commissioner Loyola de Palacio of progress in the energy dialogue with Russia in the light of the EU-Russia Summit on 6 November.
The Council took note of the information given by the Greek delegation on the significance and the act of signature of the Memorandum of Understanding, signed in Athens on 8 December 2003. This Memorandum of Understanding will be followed by negotiations with a view to establishing an integrated energy market organisation in South East Europe". Commissioner Loyola de Palacio also underlined the importance of this regional market in the framework of security of supply and the Wider Europe communication.
ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE
Nuclear Safety Convention*
The Council adopted a Decision amending the Council Decision of 7 December 1998 approving the accession of the European Atomic Energy Community to the Nuclear Safety Convention (15252/03 + 15243/03).
The text adopted amends the Declaration made by the Community when it became a party to the agreement, indicating which articles of the Convention applied to it. Following the European Court of Justice judgement of 10 December 2002, it was necessary to revise the Declaration in order to cover Articles 7, 14, 16 (1) and (3) and Articles 17 to 19 of the Convention.
Relations with Russia Rules of procedure for the settlement of disputes
The Council approved a draft Decision, to be adopted by the EU/Russia Cooperation Council, on the establishment of rules of procedure for the settlement of disputes under the EU/Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
The draft Decision is aimed at reinforcing the PCA as the legal foundation of EU-Russia relations, introducing greater transparency and predictability in its implementation, and giving a more judicial character to the settlement of disputes.
United States Relief for EU companies facing antidumping claims
The Council adopted a Regulation aimed at providing relief for EU companies facing claims based on the United States' AntiDumping Act of 1916, which in September 2000 was ruled incompatible with world trade rules by the World Trade Organisation's Dispute Settlement Body (12709/03).
The Regulation introduces protective measures that are limited strictly to what is needed to neutralise the effects of the AntiDumping Act. It prohibits the recognition and enforcement in the EU of decisions based on the Act and enables EU companies and individuals to countersue to recover any outlays, costs, damages and expenses incurred by its application.
The WTO's DSB found the AntiDumping Act to be incompatible in that it provides remedies against dumping, such as the imposition of damages, fines and imprisonment, none of which are permitted under world trade rules. As a result of the US's failure to comply with WTO findings, the EU requested authorisation to suspend application to the US of its obligations under the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and its implementing Agreement.
Claims brought against EU companies and persons are pending before US courts.
Generalised tariff preferences Extension to 2005*
The Council adopted a Regulation amending Regulation 2501/2001 on the scheme of generalised tariff preferences (GSP) for the period from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2004, and extending it to 31 December 2005 (14668/03 + 15016/03).
The oneyear extension is a oneoff step pending the outcome of a review, to begin early next year, of the GSP, the EU's system of trade preferences granted to developing countries. On the basis of a communication from the Commission on tenyear guidelines, the Council will adopt a new GSP Regulation to enter into force on 1 January 2006.
Adoption of the new Regulation follows a compromise agreed on by the Council in April, whereby beneficiary countries in economic crisis will be exempted from graduation ie. the removal of tariff preferences where they are normally no longer justified in sectors where they face a decrease in real terms of at least 3% in gross domestic product. The review of the GSP will reexamine application of the graduation principle, including ways of encouraging cultivation of alternative crops in countries dependent on drugs crops.
Ukraine Steel products
The Council adopted a Decision establishing quotas for imports of certain steel products from Ukraine in 2004, pending the conclusion of a new steel Agreement currently under negotiation (13921/03).
The quotas have been set at the same level as for 2003, given that a 30 euro/tonne tax imposed on 1 January 2003 by Ukraine on exports of ferrous scrap has been neither lifted nor reduced. The quotas will, however, be reviewed upon accession of the ten new EU Member States on 1 May 2004.
Antidumping China, Thailand and Taiwan Pipe fittings
The Council adopted a Regulation amending Regulation No 964/2003 of June 2003 on anti-dumping duties on imports of certain iron or steel tube or pipe fittings from China and Thailand and on those consigned from Taiwan (15164/03).
The amendment makes provision for situations where those imports are also subjected to the payment of a safeguard duty.
Counter-measures against Myanmar - Council conclusions
"The Council adopted the following conclusions:
The Council reiterates its support for the international effort against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, including the work undertaken by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The Council recalls the conclusions of the joint ECOFIN/JHA Council meetings of 17 October 2000 and 16 October 2001, where the Council endorsed the recommendation of the FATF that Member States' financial institutions give special attention to businesses and transactions with persons, including companies and financial institutions, from the Countries and Territories (NCCTs) that are not cooperating in the implementation of FATF recommendations against money laundering. The list of NCCTs is presently as follows: the Cook Islands, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nigeria, the Philippines and Ukraine.
3. The Council recalls that the Member States at the joint ECOFIN/JHA meeting on 17 October 2000 undertook to implement immediately, in concert and concomitantly, the counter-measures decided by the FATF against specific NCCTs.
4. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has now called upon its members to apply counter-measures to Myanmar beyond those currently in place under Recommendation 21. This action is based on the decision taken by the FATF Plenary in Stockholm on 3 October 2003. Myanmar was identified as a non-cooperative country or territory (NCCT) in the fight against money laundering in June 2001. Since that time, Myanmar has still not addressed major deficiencies in its anti-money laundering regime.
5. In addition to the application of Recommendation 21, the FATF recommends the application of further counter-measures decided on 3 November 2003 which should be gradual, proportionate and flexible regarding their means and taken in concerted action towards a common objective.
6. The Member States meeting within the Council have therefore decided to apply, in concert and concomitantly, counter-measures against Myanmar on the terms specified above."
The Council authorised the Member States to sign, ratify or accede to, in the interest of the European Community, the Protocol of 2003 to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992, (the "Supplementary Fund Protocol") (14389/03 + 15225/1/03).
This Protocol is aimed at ensuring adequate, prompt, and effective compensation of persons who suffer damage caused by oil spills caused by tankers. By significantly raising the limits of compensation available in the present international system, the Protocol addresses one of the most significant shortcomings in the international regulation of oil pollution liability.
European Arrest Warrant
The Council agreed on guidelines for the use of forms for the exchange of information concerning the European Arrest Warrant during the transitional phase of its implementation (15219/03).
The Council also took note of a report on the implementation of the European Arrest Warrant (15009/03).
The report had been drafted pursuant to Article 34(4) of the Framework Decision, which requires the Council to conduct a review, in the second half of 2003, in particular of the practical application of the provisions of the Framework Decision by the Member States as well as the functioning of the Schengen Information System.
EC/Denmark and Greenland agreement*
(14133/03 + 15054/03 ADD 1+ 15054/03 ADD 1 COR 1)
The Council unanimously adopted the Decision on the provisional application of the Protocol modifying the Fourth Protocol to the Framework Agreement on Fisheries (1985) between the European Economic Community, Denmark and the Local Government of Greenland.
Under Community law Greenland forms part of the "overseas countries and territories" (Article 188 of the Treaty), and withdrew from the EEC in 1985. The Fisheries Agreement provides for catch quotas in Greenland waters for the Community and gives priority to supplementary catch possibilities in return for payment of financial compensation (EUR 42.8 million each year). The aspects of provisional application cover solely experimental fisheries and the budgetary assistance programme.
The United Kingdom and German delegations entered a joint statement. The French and Danish delegations also entered a joint statement.
(1) doc. 13099/03 (Presse 292)