Following a crucial meeting of EU Energy Ministers in Brussels, Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, has criticised the UK Government for obstructing new plans to get Europe’s energy efficiency ambitions back on track.
European decision makers met yesterday to finalise negotiations on the Energy Efficiency Directive; a key package of EU-wide measures aimed at stepping up Member States efforts to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain .
Yet, following intense lobbying from EU Governments, including the UK, the compromise on the Directive means Member States will now be allowed to set their own targets for energy efficiency, instead of the original plan for a mandatory EU-wide target of 20 per cent improvements in efficiency.
The final agreement also fails to include binding targets for buildings renovations – crucial if Europe is to benefit environmentally and economically from energy savings – and reduces the legally binding annual savings target for energy companies from 1.5 per cent to 1 per cent.
According to a report in last week’s Guardian , British officials repeatedly tried to prevent the adoption of new EU rules on energy efficiency, suggesting that they should be ‘voluntary’.
Commenting on the deal, Jean said: “Whilst today’s deal is to be welcomed for the boost it will give to Europe’s economy and our energy security and climate goals, the role played by the UK in these high stake negotiations has been thoroughly disappointing. From a Government that professed to the ‘greenest ever’, I would’ve hoped for significant action to support energy efficiency measures, rather than concerted efforts to actively block progress at the EU level.
“Realising the EU’s energy saving target not only makes sense in terms of meeting our climate and energy goals, but it also makes broader economic sense, creating millions of jobs whilst bringing down energy bills for businesses and households. The failure of EU governments to agree to more ambitious energy saving measures, which would have fully delivered the 20 per cent target, means the European Commission must now propose new additional measures, such as on car fuel efficiency, to fully close the gap.”
Notes to Editor
2. ‘Leaked documents reveal UK fight to dilute EU green energy targets’, The Guardian, 3 June 2012: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/03/coalition-dilute-eu-green-energ-targets?newsfeed=true