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EU summit to focus on energy security

May 22, 2013, 4:53 UTC+3

Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg warned that the EU summit would not be conducive to radical decisions to curb the privacy of bank deposits in Europe

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BRUSSELS, May 22 (Itar-Tass) - A revision of the principle of the privacy of bank deposits and energy security of the European Union (EU) will be the main subjects of discussion at a meeting of the Heads of State and Government of 27 EU countries, opening here on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg warned that the EU summit would not be conducive to radical decisions to curb the privacy of bank deposits in Europe. Neither should one expect revolutionary changes outside the accords reached at ECOFIN (EU Council of Economics and Finance), he said, thereby cooling the optimism of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso who had earlier called for declaring the end of the privacy of bank deposits in Europe.

At the EU Council's session on May 13, EU countries once again failed to agree on bringing into force in 2015 a directive about exchanges of information on incomes from bank deposits, the directive suggested by the European Commission way back in 2008.

The EU Ministers managed only to approve the European Commission's mandate for the conduct of negotiations on exchanges of bank information with non-member countries -- Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and Switzerland.

Inside the EU it is Austria and Luxembourg that continue to block exchanges of bank information. They believe that curbing the privacy of bank deposits in Europe without reaching similar accords on the world scale would be conducive only to an outflow of capital from the Old World.

In view of this, participants in the EU summit are also to discuss a coordinated position of the EU on talks on an exchange of financial information within the framework of G8, G20, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Under conditions when no obvious progress on the theme of privacy of bank deposits is perceived, the EU leaders will devote attention to the second subject of discussion -- EU energy security.

"We intend to hold a strategic discussion on the key aspects of our energy policy," EU President Herman Van Rompuy pointed out in his invitations to the summit addressed to 27 leaders of EU countries. He suggested that European leaders at the summit answer three key questions: How can a rise in the efficiency of the use of energy be utilized for the development of the competitiveness of the European economy, stimulation of growth and employment? How to stimulate the development of Europe's own sources of energy? How can a more predictable energy policy of the EU be ensured so as to attract additonal investments to the development of the European energy infrastructure?

In practice, these questions will signify a discussion of the future of shale gas in Europe, the damping of heightened hopes for renewable energy sources, a reassessment of the resources of the coal and nuclear power industries, and a more sober view of EU obligations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

No practical decisions will be made in this respect at the summit: the Heads of State will only give assignments once again to the EU Energy ministers to work out supplements to the EU energy policy.



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