* EU Commission to propose climate and energy measures
* Shale gas measures will be guidance only
LONDON Dec 17 British Prime Minister David
Cameron has warned the European Commission not to propose
European Union-wide legislation to regulate the nascent fracking
industry, saying such a move could create uncertainty and stifle
Rising energy bills are a big issue ahead of a 2015 election
and Cameron is keen to tap Britain's large resources of shale
gas to shore up the country's energy security as its North Sea
oil reserves decline.
In a letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel
Barroso released on Tuesday, Cameron said the European Union
could derail investment in British shale gas extraction, or
fracking as the process is known, if it chose to legislate.
"I am not in favour of new legislation where the lengthy
timeframes and significant uncertainty involved are major causes
for concern," Cameron wrote in the letter dated Dec. 4. "The
industry in the UK has told us that new EU legislation would
immediately delay imminent investment."
Cameron's demarche fits into his broader strategy for reform
of the EU. He has been pushing for a reduction in red tape,
arguing that EU regulations are stifling economic growth and
costing the continent billions of euros.
In January, the European Commission, the EU executive, is
expected to publish a package of proposals related to its 2030
environment and energy strategy. These are expected to cover
However, an EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said it had been decided the guidance on shale gas would not
involve new binding law. Some 17 pieces of EU legislation
already exist to govern shale gas operations.
"There will be no new legislative proposal on shale gas or
fracking rules under this mandate," the official said, referring
to the current Commission, whose term of office expires in
"The Commission will, however, table robust guidance to set
out how member states should interpret and enforce the existing