Today, EU energy ministers met to exchange views on the increase in energy prices and take stock of the progress reached with the proposals of the “Fit for 55” package.
The proposals of the “Fit for 55” package have been a major priority for the Slovenian Presidency, which has done its utmost to make as much progress as possible while ensuring the coherence of the package. The energy prices surge comes to show the importance of a climate-neutral and energy-independent Europe. Our priority is to move forward with the green energy transition towards more renewable energies flowing in grids and fully interconnected energy systems.
Jernej Vrtovec, Slovenian Minister of Infrastructure
Following a decline in global and EU energy prices in late 2019 and 2020, there has been a sharp rebound since summer 2021.
EU energy ministers held an exchange of views on the impact of high energy prices and possible mitigating measures at national and EU level.
Ministers shared their experience on actions taken in the recent months and their experience with implementing the measures proposed in the Commission's toolbox. Discussions focussed on the impact of measures on keeping energy prices in check and protecting consumers.
The European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) presented to ministers the highlights of its preliminary report on Europe's high energy prices and the current wholesale electricity market design, published on 15 November. A final report is expected in April 2022.
Member states welcomed the preliminary analysis as the basis for an evidence-based policy discussion. Ministers expressed some preliminary views on the report and proposed areas where more in-depth analysis could be added in view of the final assessment by April 2022.
Infographic - How the EU delivers the green transition
Fit for 55 package
Ministers held a policy debate on the Fit for 55 package, in particular on the two files concerning energy: the directives on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Ministers welcomed the progress achieved on the files and took stock of main outstanding issues on the package as a whole and on the two energy-related files in particular.
In order to set a direction for further work ministers discussed the balance between the need to support the potential of renewables as a cost-efficient source of energy and to recognise national circumstances and different starting points.
Ministers discussed the increased energy efficiency efforts required of Member States and their contribution towards an EU-wide energy efficiency target. Ministers also discussed the possible need for flexibilities that reflect national circumstances and how these flexibilities could be used for public sector buildings.
Ministers have approved also today, as point without discussion, a WTO Joint Statement Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation.
This is the first WTO deliverable in the area of trade in services for more than 20 years. While this is a plurilateral initiative, the new commitments will benefit all other WTO Members through the Most Favoured Nation principle.
Good regulatory practices are crucial for the well-functioning of today’s economy. The EU is convinced that clear rules on transparency and authorisation will facilitate trade in services significantly, especially for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises who do not have the same resources and experience to cope with complex processes as bigger players.
The implementation of the new commitments will reduce trade costs for service suppliers. According to a recent study by the OECD and the WTO, the amount of costs that could be saved is estimated at USD 150 billion per year.
Ministers formally adopted the new common agricultural policy, which will take effect from 2023-2027. The legislation paves the way for a fairer, greener and more performance-based CAP that seeks to ensure a sustainable future for European farmers, provide more targeted support to smaller farms, and allow greater flexibility for member states in adapting the measures to local conditions.
Under any other business, the Commission informed ministers on developments in the field of external energy relations and presented a report on the state of the Energy Union. The Presidency briefed ministers on the progress made with the European Parliament in negotiations on the revision of the trans-European networks for energy (TEN-E) regulation. Denmark shared information on the coexistence between renewable energy and biodiversity. Lithuania shared information on the importance of ensuring nuclear safety at the Belarusian Ostrovets nuclear power plant in accordance with recognised EU safety levels. Belgium shared information on the impact of the existing 70 percent rule applicable to interconnections on offshore hybrid projects. France presented the work programme of its upcoming Presidency.
The Council adopted without discussion the items that figure in the lists of legislative and non-legislative A items.
-2 December 2021