Cyprus supports the creation of a common platform for the supply of natural gas and the EU funding innovative green technologies to address the needs of the Southern Mediterranean.
This was the position of Energy Minister permanent secretary Marios Panayides during the Council of EU Energy Ministers held in Luxembourg on Monday.
They discussed the energy situation in the EU due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
He noted that high energy prices are seriously impacting the economy in Cyprus, especially in the transport sector, like most small countries and islands, which lack public infrastructure.
On the proposal to revise the Energy Efficiency Directive, Panayides thanked his interlocutors for the approach adopted towards Cyprus and Malta regarding Member States’ mandatory national energy-saving contributions.
The revision of the directive includes an update to the EU-wide energy consumption reduction target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to the 1990 baseline.
The Council also adopted the proposal to update the directive on renewable energy sources, aiming to increase the target for renewable energy in the EU to 40% by 2030.
Panayides called for a balanced solution that considers the EU’s climate objectives while recognising the specific situation of some Member States, including islands, where gross final energy consumption in the maritime transport sector is disproportionately high.
EU energy ministers agreed on laws to save energy and promote renewables, part of a package of reforms proposed by Brussels to fight climate change by drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions this decade.
More details of the climate change proposals will be discussed at further talks on Tuesday, with some diplomats concerned that proposals such as a petrol and diesel cars ban by 2035 could ultimately be watered down.
EU energy ministers were also due to use the previously scheduled talks to discuss options to collectively reduce short-term gas demand to cope with possible further cuts from Russia.
The European Commission is preparing to present a plan next month to coordinate steps to prepare for further supply cuts amid the war in Ukraine.
Brussels proposed even higher targets last month, which the ministers are expected to review later this year when they negotiate the final laws with the EU parliament.
In one notable weakening of the proposals, a 2030 target to reduce primary energy consumption was made voluntary, rather than legally binding, at the request of Spain.
But countries also backed tighter rules proposed by Germany to ensure each member state contributes to another binding target to curb final EU energy consumption.
Brussels says the energy supply crisis this year caused by Russia’s invasion means the 27 EU countries should move even faster to wean themselves off of fossil fuels.
But the threat of an economic slump from surging energy prices has made some countries more cautious about changes that would affect domestic industries.
Countries are split over proposals on a new scheme to impose CO2 costs on polluting transport and heating fuels and an effective EU ban on sales of new fossil fuel cars from 2035.
Some diplomats warned that moving to delay or weaken some proposals would cause the EU to miss its climate goals if approved.