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Environment ministers from the EU’s 27 member states are unlikely to reach an agreement on core criteria for the sustainability of biofuels, according to a document circulated by the Slovenian Presidency. “There remain important differences of opinion on certain issues,” the report said. The Slovenian Presidency has been pushing for a compromise around a two-stage… » read more

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The incoming French EU Presidency is confident that it will be able to shepherd a deal on the EU’s climate and energy package through to adoption before the end of the year. But the ‘weight’ of the legislative agenda is unprecedented, and member states’ views diverge on a number of key points. France, which will… » read more

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Strikes and protests have spread across Europe amid growing anger at record-high oil prices, with leaders from the 27 EU countries at odds over the best response to the crisis. Unhappy fishermen After three weeks of work stoppages and blockades staged by fishermen in France, the fishing industry in Spain, Italy and Portugal joined in… » read more

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But European governments are split on how to deal with the crisis. While protestors and industry are demanding immediate tax breaks, many governments and consumer groups are concerned that this will simply lead to a loss of public revenues and encourage unsustainable consumption patterns. Last week (27 May), French President Nicolas Sarkozy sided with the… » read more

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A group of Eastern European countries, led by Hungary, have asked for a revision of their national targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia are questioning the reference year 2005 chosen by the Commission to calculate how each of the 27 EU member states will contribute to the… » read more

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“We know that the Commission doesn’t like our proposal,” an expert from an Eastern European country told EurActiv. He explained that his Eastern colleagues do not question the methodology of the Commission, except for on one point – the reference year. “The Commission methodology is OK, it tries to achieve a balance,” another Eastern expert… » read more

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German utility firm RWE AG has announced it will sell off its gas grid within two years to avoid further anti-trust actions by Brussels over suspected abuse of market dominance. The move comes one week before a key ministerial meeting on energy liberalisation. RWE, Germany’s second largest electricity producer, says it wants to avoid “protracted… » read more

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Positions

In addition to calling on member states to provide the necessary support, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs is also looking for commitment “on a big scale” from industry itself. Business must see CCS as an opportunity, he said. Jan Panek, head of unit for Coal and Oil in the Commission‘s Energy and Transport Directorate (DG… » read more

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With hundreds of new coal-fired power plants planned within and outside Europe in the coming decades, pressure is growing on the EU to commercialise and export carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies to prevent a massive rise in global CO2 emissions. But difficult financing issues remain unresolved. EU policymakers and key stakeholders met several times… » read more

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The Commission should envisage greater powers for a new regulatory agency in its proposals on EU energy market liberalisation, according to MEPs in Parliament’s Industry (ITRE) Committee. Yesterday (28 May), MEPs voted by large majority in favour of three reports relating to the functioning of a more liberalised EU electricity and gas market. In his… » read more

Posted by EMI