Europe’s energy union needs to be bolstered by EU laws binding on each nation, Germany has said in a policy paper, seen by Reuters, that sets it at odds with Britain.
The European Commission is expected to publish proposals on a more closely-linked single energy market soon to curb dependence on Europe’s main energy supplier Russia.
Germany’s position paper is being circulated in Brussels by diplomats who asked not to be named and follows papers drawn up by Britain, the Czech Republic and Denmark.
After last October’s outline agreement on 2030 climate goals on carbon emissions, increased use of renewable energy and improved energy efficiency, Germany urged the Commission to draw up a proposal on “governance”.
That refers to legal implementation plans for targets on renewable energy and energy savings.
“It would not satisfy the implementation of the 2030 council conclusions, if the new energy union governance was merely a soft law process,” the paper says.
That position is opposed to the stance of Britain, which has called in general for a “light-touch and non-legislative” approach. However, Britain is aligned with Germany in supporting a firm target on limiting carbon emissions and demanding rapid reform of the EU carbon market, the Emissions Trading System, which is languishing in oversupply.
Germany’s position paper says all efforts must be made to get a so-called market stability reserve to take away a 900 million tonne surplus of carbon certificates up and running by 2017.
Britain has also backed a 2017 start date, while debate in the European Parliament has focused on 2019 and 2017 dates, both of which are earlier than the official Commission proposal to begin in 2021.
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