An EU-wide emissions target is on the table for a January proposal, and Mr. Dimas said that there had been good progress in a number of areas, including measures aimed at improving energy security and efficiency. Dimas stated that the EU had to "practice what it preached" if it was to have any credibility on issues such as tackling climate change on the international stage.
A possible energy trading alliance may be the key. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which was launched in 2005, works by setting up a quota for big pollution industries of emissions of greenhouse gases, and then allows companies to trade those emissions rights.
The European Commission is currently negotiating with governments over national emission limits for the second phase of the ETS, which runs from 2008 to 2012. The second phase requires the 25-nation bloc to meet its Kyoto target of cutting its 1990 levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 8 percent by 2012.
Dimas responded to questions about the German government's unhappiness after the commission had rejected its National Allocation Plan (NAP), saying, "They have indicated that they need some explanations. I think that everybody will agree that it's better to have sometimes the creation of individual unhappiness than to have a collective unhappiness by destroying the emissions trading system."