Council risks weakening of EU energy efficiency policy

Energy transition

On 26 June, EU Energy Ministers are expected to reach an agreement on the revision of the bloc’s main energy saving law for after 2020. Worryingly, they are considering throwing the policy into disarray by significantly watering down its cornerstone measure: the annual energy savings obligation. This would profoundly undermine the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement, which requires boosting energy savings investments.

In reaction to the new draft position of EU governments on the legislative proposal for the future Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) published yesterday, which will form the basis for the Ministers’ discussion on 26 June, Dora Petroula, Energy Savings Policy Coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:

“By bending rules on saving energy, EU leaders would negate all their recent statements in support of the Paris Agreement. The ministers need to turn words into action by opting for a more ambitious energy efficiency law. Instead of bickering over new loopholes, the priority should be to strengthen the energy savings obligation, so that it helps speed up the energy transition in line with the Paris Agreement.”

Less is more: energy savings obligation brings vast benefits

Thanks to the EED, currently EU countries have to save 1.5% of energy sold to consumers every year. They can achieve this by for example renovation of buildings or promotion of more efficient consumer goods. These measures bring significant benefits, not only in terms of lower carbon emissions, but also new investment opportunities, lower energy bills, better air quality or new jobs.

…but is at risk of becoming an empty shell

The Commission proposed to continue the savings obligation under the new EED for after 2020, published as part of its Clean Energy Package in November 2016. Unfortunately, the Commission did not propose to eliminate any of the loopholes allowed in the current legislation that reduce the savings to be achieved by Member States by around a half, from 1.5% per year to only 0.75%.

Instead of eliminating the existing loopholes, EU governments have been asking for even more of them. In their new draft position, they propose to significantly weaken the effect of this requirement. According to the new text, they would be allowed to reduce the obligation from 1.5% to 1% after 2025, carry over the excess of savings from the previous period and count renewable energy as energy savings. As a result, Member States will have to do almost nothing under the energy savings requirement after 2020.

On 26 June, countries might also reach an agreement on the level and character of the EU 2030 energy efficiency target. The new text proposes to make the target non-binding, which would further dilute the EU’s energy savings law. A binding target of 30%, as proposed by the European Commission, is anyway too low and the Parliament has been calling for an increase to 40%.



Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator,, +32 494 525 738


New draft position of EU governments on the legislative proposal for the future Energy Efficiency Directive (EED):

The Coalition for Energy Savings, ASSESSMENT – Proposal for a General Approach on the Energy Efficiency Directive,

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 130 member organisations in more than 30 European countries – representing over 44 million citizens – CAN Europe works to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable climate and energy policy in Europe.


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