On 24 November, EU Energy Ministers met to discuss a progress report prepared by the Polish Presidency on the draft Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). The report, which was reviewed and noted by Energy Ministers, shows that Member States are seeking to undo and weaken everything of substance in the Directive - despite having committed to ‘strong and decisive’ action on energy efficiency at the February Council.
This is especially problematic since if Europe is to close the gap to the target of saving 20% of its energy consumption by 2020, as agreed to by Heads of State in 2007, the measures proposed in the Directive need urgently to be strengthened – not weakened. Member States put up such strong resistance to the idea of binding national energy saving targets that the Commission instead proposed only a series of specific measures. However according to new analysis by CAN-Europe and Friends of the Earth, the measures as suggested by the European Commission may deliver as few as half of the required savings.The irony is that energy security – which was the major preoccupation of Ministers at the meeting on 24 November - starts with energy saving. Renovating Europe’s buildings and ensuring that energy companies help consumers save energy would be a surefire way to cut bills and reduce reliance on foreign energy supplies. It would appear that Energy Ministers fail to see this link. Paradoxically, they seem to view EU energy policy as a tool to strengthen Europe’s energy security while trying to water down the EED at the same time.