Energy ministers held an initial debate on the Commission's proposals in their meeting on 29 November 2004, without coming to a common approach.
While ministers supported the goal of the proposal, they stressed that a more flexible, unbureaucratic approach was needed in order to take into account national circumstances and existing initiatives. They also emphasised that it must be ensured that the directive be consistent with existing legislation.
A high number of member states also complained that a uniform six-year target (2006-2012) did not offer enough flexibility, stating a preference for indicative national targets.
Ministers were divided over the question as to whether the provision of energy services or energy audits should be the suppliers' responsibility alone. Some ministers emphasised that there should be more flexibility to reflect differing national circumstances.
However, there was agreement that it was important to achieve reliable and comparable results through a harmonised measurement system for energy savings.