Director General for Energy of the Commission

Documents from [1984] to [1986]
Fonds Creator
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In accordance with the general principles and the limits governing the public's right of access to documents of the Commission, laid down in Regulation (EC) No. 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council, any classified documents in these files (marked confidential or personal) were removed and will be subject to later release to the public under the 30-year rule applying to the historic archives from the EU institutions. Therefore, they will be open to the public between 2014 - 2016.


Christopher Audland was Director-General for Energy of the European Commission from 1981 - 1986, it was usually known in those days as DG XVII and was both complex and large being composed of six different Directorates dealing with energy policy as a whole, solid fuels, hydrocarbons, nuclear energy and negotiations with other countries, energy saving and the Euratom safeguards. For the first four years he had Steve Davignon as Commissioner, who was replaced by Nic Mosar the Commissioner from Luxembourg in 1985 with the incoming Delors Commission.
Solid fuels gave Audland much work in particular with the projects for liquefaction and gasification of coal and state aids for coal. A principal action of the Community as regards hydrocarbons was the hydrocarbon technolgy projects scheme. Another important objective was to build bridges with Middle East oil producers, with involved building relations with Ali Attiga, Secretary-General of the Orgaisation of Arab Oil Producing Countries (OAPEC) and with initiating informal talks with the GCC, the Gulf Co-operation Council and finally with Fadhil Al Chalabi, Director-General of OPEC.
There was also much to do in the nuclear sector. The framework was very different from that of the EEC as they were operating under the rules of the Euratom Treaty. When the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was concluded, it was agreed that the safeguards to be applied by the newly established IAEA, within the Community, should be the subject of an agreement between the latter organisation and Euratom. This then provided for verification by IAEA inspectors of Euratom Safeguards. The Euratom Safeguards were headed by Willem Gmelin and this Directorate was based in Luxembourg which meant that Audland had to spend a certain amount of time every month in Luxembourg. A review was also carried out during this time of the Euratom Treaty. Since other Directorates were involved an Inter-Service Group (ISG) under Audland's Chairmanship was established which made recommendations to the Commission.
Another sector of nuclear activity which produced a lot of work was that of Nuclear Supply agreements, the principal ones were with Canada, the US and Australia.
Last but not least of his duties lay in furthering the Commission's relations with the IAEA (Vienna Agency) and its Director General Hans Blix and the easing of safeguards problems with the agency caused by duplication of operations.
Most importantly during Audland's period in the Energy Directorate he handled the entire consequences of the Chernobyl accident. The RBMK reactor was of Soviet design and Western experts had always had their doubts about it.
From the moment of the explosion, the nuclear staff of his Directorate-General set to work, first to gather facts and analyse them, next to keep in touch with the permanent representatives in Brussels and to develop some guidelines for a Community reaction. Unfortunately, as Chernobyl showed very little work had been done at international, Community or national levels, on how to cope with a nuclear accident of such magnitude. The habit of secrecy spilled over from military to the civil side. For the Commission the Euratom Treaty was a starting point, however the broadest forum was the IAEA or the Vienna Agency and other international organisations such as the WHO, FAO and the NEA, which played lesser roles.

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