EU, U.S., to form energy council

UPI (Link) (October 24, 2009)

 A joint European-U.S. energy council to coordinate policy on both sides of the Atlantic is expected to begin work in November, a U.S. official said.

The official, speaking on condition his name not be used, told the EU Observer that President Obama and Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, are scheduled to announce the council at a Nov. 3 summit meeting in Washington. The council is to hold its first meeting the next day.

"Energy is an important foreign policy priority for the U.S. and a very important component of our bilateral relationship with the E.U.," the official said. "We wanted to have a form of engagement with the Europeans to reflect that and to raise it to the policy level, to the cabinet level."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Energy Secretary Stephen Chu are to sit on the council, along with Andris Piebalgs, E.C. commissioner for energy; Benita Fererro-Waldner, external relations; and Janez Potocnik, science and research. Javier Solana, the chief diplomat for the union, and two Swedish ministers, Carl Bildt and Maud Olofsson, representing the rotating E.U. presidency, will join them.