Austria, which took over the EU presidency from Britain on 1 January, will focus on the achievement of an economically optimal supply of energy sources and raw materials, taking into account security of supply, cost-efficiency and environmental and social acceptability. The Austrian Presidency has chosen three focus areas in energy policy: increasing energy efficiency, promoting renewable energy and improving the function of the internal energy market. In spring 2006 the Austrian presidency plans to host a conference, "Energy Paths � Horizon 2050", to advance and discuss sustainable energy supply, focusing on the necessary technology choices this implies. Energy efficiency: The Directive on end-use energy efficiency and energy services has to be finalized in early 2006. More generally, work on an Action Plan on Energy Efficiency should proceed on the basis of the consultation launched by the Green Paper, to be completed by March 2006, then initiating its assessment and preparation of the Action Plan. Promoting renewable energy: A strategy for addressing the medium and long term time frame for renewable energy beyond 2010 should be developed on the basis of two Communications (financing of renewables, biomass Action Plan), taking into account progress towards 2010 targets on energy efficiency and in climate change negotiations. Internal energy market: Under the Austrian Presidency, consideration will be given to further measures on the liberalization of the electricity and gas markets on the basis of an assessment of their operation, including looking at competition aspects. Politically, climate change will remain high on the agenda. Talks at international level will begin on a post-2012 global climate change framework. Furthermore, work will include the review of the Emission Trading Directive and the new phase of the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP), which will contribute to the achievement of the Kyoto commitments by the Community and the Member States.


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