After the high profile given to energy issues during the German EU Presidency in the first half of 2007, the Slovenians will have a hard time keeping the energy flame burning quite as brightly. To a large extent, targets set by the spring Council in March 2007 have determined the details of Slovenia's Presidency priorities. These, with a deadline of 2020, are: to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% compared to 1990; ensure 20% of the EU's overall energy mix comes from renewables; cut primary energy use by 20% through energy efficiency; and use a minimum of 10% of biofuels in vehicle fuel.

A priority closer to home for the former Yugoslav republic is to strengthen implementation and enlarge the Energy Community with Moldova and Ukraine. This unifies Balkan energy markets under EU law. The Slovenian Presidency will also see initial discussion of the European Commission's 23 January 2008 plans for carbon capture and storage of CO2 emissions. Essentially, though, the next six months will see greater legislative flesh added to the Commission's January 2007 Energy Package.

Top issues for further discussion will be the future of the European gas and electricity market, the 23 January 2008 directive on renewable energies, improvement of energy statistics and boosting energy R&D. The Slovenians are unlikely to resolve the thorny issues left over from the Portuguese and German presidencies. These include determining the exact percentages for sharing the burden to attain the renewable energy targets and the difficult question of whether or not to endorse ownership unbundling...

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