European Union leaders are holding their first ever energy summit today (4 February) but the policy agenda looks likely to take a backseat to pressing issues such as Egypt and the eurozone debt crisis.
"Much of the meeting's agenda strays away from the prepared conclusions to talk about economics and foreign relations, apparently without leaders recognising the link," said Jason Anderson, spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund.
"It is essential for Europe to reduce our dependence on expensive, polluting, insecure energy sources."
EU leaders' attentions however, seem focused elsewhere.
Egypt and the euro
With Egypt, differences over how to balance the EU's goals of stability and democratic change look likely to be papered over with talk of an "orderly transition" of power.
Northern member states are thought to lean more towards the "change" part of the equation, southern countries to "stability". But both positions could be overtaken by events.
Intense discussions are also expected over how to make the European Financial Stability Facility more effective, and how to free up the €440 billion of funds that are available to member states. Results though, may be inconclusive.
Divisive energy issues such as how to meet – and measure – the EU's lagging efficiency targets have been kicked some distance into the future.
A copy of the summit's draft conclusions text seen by EURACTIV says only that a review of the goal of increasing energy efficiency by 20% on 1990 levels by 2020 will take place by 2013.
EU diplomats say that behind the scenes, there is disagreement about how accurate and appropriate the Commission's 'Primes energy model system' is for measuring progress towards the target.
States such as Denmark are enthusiastic about making the efficiency goals binding, but the 'Primes' system depends on predictions of future energy supply and demand that are easily contested.
Even so, the summit's draft conclusions maintain that the 2020 targets "must be delivered" and require member states to take account of them in public procurement for new buildings and services from 2012.
No 'energy islands' after 2015
Agreement has been reached that funding for €1 trillion of energy infrastructure investments identified by EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger will come mostly from the market, with some costs being recouped by feed-in tariffs paid to renewable energy suppliers.
But some limited public funding will be made available for security, solidarity or supply-related projects, in order to leverage private investment. In the UK, for example, this would allow public funding for offshore North Sea electricity grids.
The Commission has also been asked to table new initiatives on "smart grids" that can easily transfer wind power to windless areas, and solar power to cloudier regions.
In deference to fears expressed by so-called "energy islands" – such as the Baltic states, Malta and Cyprus – the text pledges that: "No member state should remain isolated from the European gas and electricity networks after 2015 or see its energy security jeopardised by lack of the appropriate connections."
North-South gas corridor
Energy security will also have been on the agenda at a dinner hosted by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso last night (3 February).
The meeting was intended to push leaders of six eastern European states – Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria – into cooperating on a North-South gas corridor that would provide better power grid connections, free fuel transits, and sectoral harmonisation.
In addition, the summit text asks the Commission to submit a communication on energy security by June.
A full internal energy market, the document says, should be completed by 2014.
To meet the EU's ambition for an 80-95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, there is one rallying call – for "a revolution in energy systems which must start now".
But in accord with the limited scope of proposals that member states seem ready to countenance at a time of economic and political upheaval, the only concrete measure proposed is that "due consideration" be given to "fixing intermediary stages" along the way.
The ongoing debate about efficiency targets suggests that even this, in due course, is likely to be contested.