Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has welcomed European leaders arriving in Lahti ahead of today’s energy summit, where they hope to adopt a common position on how the EU is supplied with its energy. Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Shuessal has stressed the importance of today’s talks saying that leaders will be focusing on making EU energy policy more efficient. The 25 leaders will be discussing ambitious measures to save 20% of power consumption by the year 2020.
Officials say the proposals will deliver annual savings of 100bn euros and also help the EU to meet its Kyoto Protocol target to cut emissions by 8%. Britain in particular has urged fellow member states to put climate change high on the agenda. However the centre piece of today’s summit will be a three-hour dinner this evening with Russian President Vladimir Putin who’s country is the source of a fifth of the EU’s oil and gas imports.
Leaders are hoping to ensure long term co-operation on much needed Russian gas and oil supplies. The summits Finnish hosts warn that the bloc must “speak with one voice” on the issue or risk weakening its position.