...It will take place on the 8th and 9th of March. This is Angela Merkel's message:
Europe is at an important crossroads. If we act decisively now, we have a chance of effectively counteracting the dangers of climate change. Climate and energy policies are therefore at the centre of this European Council. We must use the spring meeting to decide on a strategy which will safeguard our energy supply and ensure climate protection on a sustainable basis. Our response to this issue will have repercussions for the future of Europe and beyond.
Europe is currently experiencing an economic upturn. The reforms undertaken as part of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Employment are beginning to bear fruit. We should use this positive development to further modernise Europe and its industry and make them fit to face the challenges ahead.We also intend at the forthcoming meeting to take measures to boost employment and reinforce the social dimension, as well as to promote better regulation.We begin our consultations on Thursday evening at 17.30 with an exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering.
Following this, the first working session will take place from 18.00 to 20.00. It will be devoted to questions of energy policy and climate protection policy. Last December we decided that we would work out an action plan in the area of energy policy for Europe and tackle the political, economic and external repercussions of energy policy and climate protection policy in that context. The Commission submitted a proposal on this subject in January 2007. We shall discuss a number of priority measures at our spring Council and we shall have the opportunity on this occasion to set out a European strategy with ambitious goals and timetables. I have asked the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, to give an introductory presentation on the subject.