James Crisp. Freelance journalist in Brussels.

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Commission ‘pre-emptive strike’ puts cap on EU energy efficiency targets

EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission’s decision to effectively cap any increase to the EU’s energy efficiency targets was branded a “pre-emptive strike” today (18 November) against the European Parliament, which would curb any effort by MEPs to boost the 2030 goals.

Officials drafting preparatory work on legislation to revise the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive are working on an impact assessment study, research estimating the effect of different target levels.

EurActiv has learnt the Commission will analyse no greater increase in efficiency than 33%.

Such impact assessments are increasingly a precondition for EU law to be approved by legislators. As part of its better regulation strategy, the executive is pushing for any significant amendment to a bill by MEPs to be impact-assessed.

Claude Turmes, a Green MEP, is campaigning for a 40% increase. He said, “This constitutes a pre-emptive strike aiming at weakening the credibility of the Parliament. This is not acceptable.“

“This amounts to a deliberate slap in the face to MEPs and cuts off their power to push for tougher action at the knees,” said Brook Riley, of Friends of the Earth Europe.

EU leaders agreed in October 2014 to a hike of at least 27% in efficiency by 2030. The Commission had originally wanted a 30% increase, which was watered down in the European Council, and will likely push for 30% in the new legislation.

>>Read: EU leader adopt flexible energy and climate targets

The revised Energy Efficiency directive can only become law once an identical text is agreed by both Council and the European Parliament.

The European Parliament backed a 40% 2030 target in an October 2015 resolution about the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.

It was a reiteration of support for an earlier February 2014 resolution supporting stronger targets. The 2030 targets are the basis of the EU’s negotiating position in the COP21 talks to cap global warming at two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

A push to boost the target and make it legally binding was defeated in the Parliament’s energy committee on 10 November, but supporters are bullish that will be overturned on 15 December in a plenary vote.

>>Read: MEPs fail to boost EU renewables, efficiency targets before COP21

Turmes, who is from Luxembourg, said, “The Commission needs to model a broad range of options to allow a democratic debate to take place transparently assessing real cost and benefits for all of them.”

The lawamker said that refusing to model the 40% would prejudge the outcome of the co-decision procedure by the EU Council and Parliament, and that it would be a “provocation”.

“It goes in complete contradiction to the Energy Union’s ambitions to put ‘efficiency first’ and against the principle of mutual respect between both institutions,” he added.

>>Read:Whole story on EurActiv

>>Read: MEPs go on warpath over energy efficiency days before COP21



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This entry was posted on November 20, 2015 by in Energy, Journalism and tagged , .

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