ENERGY : HUNGARIANS FAST FORWARD ON SUMMIT AND COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS.

With an EU leaders' summit fast approaching, on 4 February, and an Energy Council on 28 February, the Hungarians aim to present a first draft of conclusions to the Council's energy working group as early as 11 January. The conclusions will concentrate on the Commission's recent communications on energy strategy up to 2020 as well as on energy infrastructure priorities. Also important will be airing ministerial opinions on future Commission policy papers, notably the much delayed revamping of the energy efficiency action plan, a communication on the security of energy supply and international cooperation as well as an energy policy road map for 2050.

Early preparation of the 28 February Energy Council conclusions should also feed into a document to be approved by EU leaders at their summit, on 4 February, devoted to energy (and now innovation). The Hungarians are dividing their Energy Council conclusions into three broad sections: introduction, short-medium term priorities and long-term priorities. Its section on short-medium term priorities covers the internal energy market, energy efficiency, infrastructure, research and innovation in energy technology, indigenous energy resources and external energy relations.

Draft conclusions are being fleshed out on the basis of a fairly detailed skeleton as well as delegations' oral and written contributions. The Energy Council of 3 December 2010 also gave ministers a chance to vent their opinions on the 2020 energy strategy as well as related matters, including the way forward in terms of energy efficiency. Regarding short and medium-term priorities, ostensibly actions and initiatives to be launched by mid-2012, the Hungarians talk of "timely and full" implementation of the 2009 third internal energy market package(1).

The Hungarians further underline the need to clarify "methodological" and "measurement" issues ahead of the submission by the Commission of a new energy efficiency action plan. Ministers are likely to call - once again - for an "early" submission by the Commission of the energy efficiency plan. This document should focus on the (cost-efficient) enhancement of energy efficiency in both the building and transport sectors. The...

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