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European Parliament challenges Member States to adopt ‘cheapest and most effective’ route to cut emissions

EU flag in front of Berlaymont building facade

The European Parliament is set to back raising EU energy efficiency targets after MEPs in the Industry Committee voted on amendments to the Energy Efficiency Directive today.

The vote has solidified cross-party consensus for strengthening the EU’s energy efficiency legislation.

Roland Joebstl, EEB Policy Officer on Energy and Climate said:

The facts are clear. Binding and strong legislation drives more energy efficiency, cuts carbon emissions, creates domestic jobs and makes Europe less dependent on imported fuels. With the climate crisis at our doorstep, and geopolitical tensions rising, energy efficiency is our secret weapon.

The European Parliament’s effort has been lead by Adam Gierek (S&D). The progressive group joined forces with liberals, greens, the united left and direct democracy MEPs to put forward proposals that will enshrine a binding 40% energy savings target in EU law. The legislation will also strengthen national annual energy savings measures (defined in Article 7 of the Directive) that have accelerated hundreds of energy savings programmes by Member States across Europe.

Conservative and far-right groups in the Industry Committee had tried to block the progressive proposals with German MEP Markus Pieper (EPP) attempting to form a coalition of EPP, ECR and ENF MEPs. Pieper’s opposition to European energy efficiency policies led him to propose the 2030 energy efficiency targets be only ‘indicative’. He also suggested changes that would render the key ‘Article 7’ measure inoperative after 2020.

Joebstl concluded:

It’s puzzling to see conservative politicians opposing investor certainty and a clear win-win for the climate and the economy. Undermining Article 7 means opposing the most effective and cheapest policies to cut harmful emissions.

 

 

Notes to editors:

The European Parliament has had a clean track record as a strong advocate for a forward-looking and ambitious energy and climate legislation, calling for a 40% energy savings target in 2030 on four previous occasions.

The call for a binding target is found in the current legislative proposal by the Commission and the Industry Committee vote was the final step before a plenary vote decides the Parliament’s ultimate position.

The Parliament’s effort have been lead by Adam Gierek (S&D). The Socialist and Democratic group has joined forces with liberals, greens, the united left and direct democracy MEPs in putting forward  proposals enshrining the binding 40% energy savings target in legislation.

The conservatives, represented by the German MEP and party colleague of Merkel, Markus Pieper, have opposed the ambitious calls of the European Parliament in the past. Pieper’s proposals don’t just fall short of the progressive parties’ offers. His proposal to make the 2030 energy efficiency target indicative turns it into a voluntary aspiration removing all investor certainty. This was a hard blow to a number of people including the European Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete and the German government who both fought hard to have a binding target.

Furthermore, Pieper’s new rules for the national annual energy savings measures (defined in Article 7 of the Directive) would bring the end to hundreds of energy savings programmes implemented by Member States across Europe in the last few years.

The conservative Politician’s proposal contradicts European and national efforts made to make Europe’s economy more efficient and ensure the most cost-efficient pathways to decarbonise our economy and contribute to global efforts to tackle climate change.

The support for Pieper’s attack on saving energy from the Eurosceptic and far right groups including ECR and ENF creates a precedent for dissolving the cordon sanitaire of the major groups in the European Parliament that no amendment from the radical right be supported.

With this result the credibility of Europe’s and Germany’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and the energy transition is at stake.

For more information:

Anton Lazarus, Communications Officer, European Environmental Bureau (EEB)

anton.lazarus@eeb.org

+3227908818