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This note outlines the development of EU energy policy since the Coalition Government first represented the UK at negotiations. It follows on from SN/SC/4602: EU energy policy: history, which covers the development of the integrated energy and climate change package for Europe from its proposal on 10 January 2007 until March 2010.

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Charles Hendry attended the European Energy Council meeting held on 31 May 2010 in Brussels. Discussions took place on regulation surrounding security of gas supply and how to achieve a 20 per cent increase in energy efficiency across the EU. In particular discussions centred on the future development of an EU energy strategy.

The debate about the energy strategy for Europe 2011-2020 focused specifically upon the Commission’s “stock-taking” document: Towards a new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020. The document examines progress made since the Energy Action Plan of 2007 and also looks at the next steps for an Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020. The Commission has invited views on this document from all interested stakeholders. In the light of these it plans to develop a new Strategy for endorsement by the European Council in March 2011.

An informal European Energy Council meeting took place 6-7 September 2010 in Brussels. The UK was represented by Charles Hendry. The discussion included: energy consumer policy, particularly relating to vulnerable consumers; the need for a greater transparency of information especially that provided by technology including smart meters; energy infrastructure including the development of a low-carbon grid and its financing; the EU’s initial response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and energy efficiency.

Further Energy Council meetings were held on 3 December 2010 and 28 February 2011. The main focus was the Energy 2020 strategy and energy infrastructure priorities. Representatives broadly agreed with the proposals. An Extraordinary Energy Council meeting was held on 21 March 2011 to discuss the impact of unrest in north Africa and the Japanese earthquake on energy supplies. An Informal Energy Council was held on 2-3 May 2011.

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