All you need to know about the last phase of the Renewable Energy Directive negotiations

Energy transition

The negotiations on the review of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) enter the final stretch today, with representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission meeting for the first informal ‘trialogue’ to negotiate an agreement on the new law.

Here is all you need to know about the institutions’ negotiating mandates, with colours indicating our assessement of the positions:


In January 2018 the European Parliament voted – with a large majority – for an at least 35% binding renewable energy target by 2030, which is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, this EU-level target would not be backed by binding national targets. Instead, Member States would set their own targets, from which they would be allowed to deviate by 10%.

The European Parliament introduced an overall transport target of 12% containing a 10% blending mandate for ‘advanced’ fuels. The Parliament voted to limit the support to biofuels made from food and feed crops to 2017 national consumption levels and never higher than 7% of all transport fuels, but missed the opportunity to support an ambitious phase out. The Parliament also voted to phase-out support to palm oil based biodiesel as of 2021.


In their ‘general approach’ on the RED, agreed upon during the Energy Council in December 2017, Energy ministers did not increase the completely inadequate “at least 27%” target put forward by the Commission, based on out-dated costs assumptions for wind and solar energy. Only Denmark and Portugal called for raising overall ambition. The Council is also against binding national targets.

The ministers agreed on a target of 14% for renewable energy in transport, for which crop-based biofuels are eligible. Ministers chose to remove the tighter limits on the use of food and feed crops proposed by the Commission (3.8% in 2030, instead of 7% currently), although Member states would have the option to set a lower crop biofuels cap and adjust their transport target downwards (“op-out”).


Read our stocktake of the governance and energy efficiency negotiations as well.

Summary table with the position of the institutions






Overall target

At least 27%


At least 27%

At least 35%

Binding national targets




MS set their own targets (with 10% deviation)

Transport target



14% (adjustable)


Phase-out of food- and feed-based biofuels

3.8% in 2030

7% in 2030 (MS may set lower limit)

2017 levels and not higher than 7%

No palm oil



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