Written Answers. - European Energy Policy Green Paper.
15 Mr. N. Treacy asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications the key aspects of the recently approved Green Paper on European Energy policy; its advantages and disadvantages for Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9034/95]
At the end of January this year the European Commission published their Green Paper entitled "For a European Energy Policy" which will be considered by Energy Ministers at the forthcoming Council meeting on 1 June 1995. The key aspects of the Green Paper are:
— an examination of the principal challenges with which the Community will be confronted in future years, in particular competitiveness, security of supply and the environment;
— the identification of the geopolitical constants and constraints that result from the pressures of economic and social cohesion and from the requirements of environmental protection;
— an assessment of the impact of potential major developments such as technological changes;
— an analysis of the current energy situation and future prospects with a view to the definition of the main principles which should govern future Community energy policy and its implementation; and
— an analyses of the current responsibilities of the Community in the energy field.
The objective of the Green Paper is to launch an energy policy discussion and allow all interested parties to contribute to the debate. As a result of this debate, the Commission proposes to publish a White Paper later this year which will establish a working plan for energy in the Community.
Ireland welcomes this approach and my Department has circulated the Green Paper to key sectors of the energy industry for comment and information. The purpose of the paper is not to look for national advantage or disadvantage but to examine the analyses and conclusions in order to participate in an informed manner in the consultative process which will be necessary for the preparation of a White Paper.
In the discussions to date one of our objectives has been and will be to embrace Irish Energy Policy goals within the overall framework. Matters of importance to us are:
— the supply of a choice of fuels to consumers as efficiently as possible, at internationally competitive prices, taking account of supply security, socio-economic and environmental considerations;
— the consumption of this energy as efficiently as possible, and
— the production of as much of national energy requirements from indigenous sources as is economically possible.
We also consider that determination of member states competence relative to the EU Commission in the energy field should respect the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and common action should only be considered where national policies alone are not capable of delivering on the common EU objectives and where such action is necessary in the interests of economic and social cohesion. Areas for possible EU action include the completion of the internal market, trans-European energy networks, research and development, financial support for energy efficiency measures and the promotion and development of alternative renewable sources of energy and third country relations.