The European chemical sector has issued a “very serious” warning about its slumping competitiveness, but refuses to be alarmist just yet, saying shareholders should not worry, that big industrial groups are now global, and less exposed to Europe.
Energy policy should rank among the "top priorities of the EU budget," claimed Budget and Financial Programming Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite at a conference yesterday (12 November 2008) on reform of the EU budget.
Energy efficiency can increase the EU's energy independence and should take centre stage in the Commission's upcoming second strategic energy review, argue a group of MEPs in a letter to future EU presidencies.
Sweeping improvements in the energy productivity of Europe's economies could prevent the runaway energy demand and consumption currently threatening to undermine the EU's economic growth, says a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).
The partnership will involve investments worth over €600 million to support electrification in Africa as well as renewable energy projects that would help diversify Europe's energy supplies. A further agreement could be reached on Wednesday on a Transaharan Gas Pipeline, nicknamed the 'African Nabucco'.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) has published its first review of EU energy policy, endorsing controversial Commission plans to break up European energy giants and calling for greater cross-border trade in renewable energy among other recommendations.
Massive solar power installations in the Sahara desert could feed the EU's growing energy demand via a new supergrid. The idea is backed by France and the UK, which is simultaneously trying to limit priority access for renewables to domestic grids.
The merger of French energy companies Gaz de France and Suez has created a new national 'champion', triggering accusations of protectionism from some of the country's neighbours. But the Commission expects the new giant to respect its obligations under EU competition law.
The European Parliament is urging the Commission to make available considerable funds to drive the use of less polluting energy technologies as part of the EU's efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The Commission's services are engaged in intense negotiations to finalise controversial energy and climate proposals, which are under heavy attack from industry groups and some member states, who warn the plans could destroy Europe's competitiveness. Green groups have come to the defence of the proposals.
On 22 November, the Commission will publish a Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) to help the EU reach targets for renewable energies uptake and CO2 emissions reductions. Brussels hopes the plan will boost a 'clean' technology sector plagued by high costs, market barriers and under-investment.
The German cartel office has compiled considerable evidence of price fixing and anti-competitive behaviour by Germany's four main electricity and gas suppliers, according to information obtained by the Spiegel.
A proposal to further liberalise the EU's energy market, due on 19 September, is to present member states with alternative options to full 'ownership unbundling' in an effort to ward off a veto threat from nine countries led by Germany and France, EU officials have told EURACTIV.
The naysayers have it wrong: Europe can easily achieve a 20% share for renewables in its energy mix, nuclear can be phased out and second-generation biofuels technologies will arrive in time to meet bioenergy targets sustainably, according to Oliver Schäfer, of the European Renewable Energy Council.
The second half of 2007 promises renewed tensions as legislators prepare to hammer out the EU's future energy policy. Controversial Commission proposals on energy market liberalisation are due in September, with renewables and CO2 burden-sharing proposals scheduled for the end of the year.
A Commission initiative to launch an Energy Consumers' Charter has run into criticism from consumer groups who argue that its non-binding character will not be enough to stop borderline commercial practices.
On 26 June, panellists from a range of sectors debated the role of regulation, fiscal incentives, consumers and other issues related to the transformation of the EU's energy market in light of climate-change and energy-security concerns.
The double majority voting system in the Council of Ministers and the division of competences between the EU and its member states are two major issues of concern for Poland ahead of a June summit on institutional reform, EU Ambassador Jan Tombi?ski has told EURACTIV in an interview.
A growing gap is emerging between supply and demand for electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the UK with production expected to fall short in 2007, according to a survey by Datamonitor.
Officials said that the Commission was still unsure about how it will share the burden among member states, after EU leaders agreed earlier in March to have 20% of their overall energy needs covered by renewables by 2020.
The Commission is preparing legislation on 'ownership unbundling' to separate energy generation and supply activities from network operation despite opposition from France and Germany, EU officials indicated.
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