The debate established that there is political will among Member States to achieve agreement with the European Parliament on the Energy Efficiency Directive – in accordance with the request of the European Council, which on 30 January encouraged finalisation of negotiations by the end of June 2012. Achieving agreement will require serious willingness to compromise on the part of both the Council and the European Parliament - and is dependent on the European Parliament's readiness to initiate negotiations very soon.
Martin Lidegaard states:
"I am on par pleased with today’s meeting. We had an open and constructive debate on the Energy Efficiency Directive. I expect the Council to be ready to initiate negotiations with the European Parliament shortly, although there is still a way to go"
"The European Council has emphasized that the Energy Efficiency Directive can contribute to growth and job creation in Europe. According to the Commission the directive can create up to two million jobs - mostly local jobs that cannot be outsourced."
"Through enhanced energy efficiency, the EU can save billions of Euros on imported energy. Money that can instead be channelled to energy efficiency measures, jobs and growth in Europe."
"Today, we took an important step forward. We agree on the goal – and on the framework for negotiations set by the Commission in its proposal. Agreement on this important Directive by the end of June will, however, require a high degree of flexibility and willingness to compromise on the part of both the Council and the European Parliament"
Ministers also debated energy infrastructure and the contribution of energy efficiency and renewable energy to growth and employment in the context of the EU's Europe 2020 Strategy, which will be on the agenda of the spring European Council on 1-2 March.