At its meeting on 7 May 1996 in Brussels, the EU Council of Energy Ministers reached political agreement on its common position on the SAVE II multiannual programme for the promotion of energy efficiency in the European Community. The SAVE II programme, which is to replace the SAVE programme when it expires on 31 December 1996, represents a major part of the Community's strategy to reduce CO2 emissions. The Council adopted its common position unanimously, but reduced the indicative budget for the five-year programme from ECU 150 million to ECU 45 million. Although the agreement was unanimous, a number of Member States expressed their regret that it had not been possible to reach agreement on a more substantial budget. The proposal will now be returned to the European Parliament for its second reading, and both the Parliament and the Commission are likely to make attempts to increase the budget from that agreed by the Council.