Negotiations over Britain’s exit from the EU got underway in earnest this week, but that doesn’t mean that the U.K. is withdrawing from other EU business. Far from it. It has emerged that British ministers and officials lobbied hard against a European Commission plan on energy efficiency, even though the rules might never apply to the U.K. assuming it leaves the EU as planned in March 2019. Britain opposed a compromise deal on future EU energy efficiency rules during a long and difficult meeting of EU energy ministers last month, pushing the Commission to water down its proposals. Richard Harrington, a junior minister at the U.K.’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, told the Energy Council meeting in June that the U.K. was “disappointed” with Brussels’ proposal to boost the target to 30 percent. He said the British government “cannot support” the proposed compromise on energy efficiency because “we do not believe it strikes the right balance to provide sufficient flexibility to reach our ambitions.” The energy efficiency rules are part of a wider package of proposals meant to accelerate the EU’s transition to clean energy, and while the European Commission is pushing for an inter-institutional deal on all eight parts of the package by the end of 2018, officials doubt that is realistic. The move to block strong energy efficiency rules is creating “a lot of bad feelings” among other EU countries, especially since Britain “will need all the friends it can get” after Brexit, said Jonathan Gaventa, director at think tank E3G.
Politico 18th July 2017 read more »