The European Commission has released today the "Communication on Energy Efficiency and its contribution to energy security and the 2030 Framework for climate and energy policy". The Communication is a strategy that proposes mid and long-term objectives for the EU's energy efficiency policy and explains how these objectives can be achieved. It assesses progress towards the EU's 20% energy efficiency target for 2020 and proposes a new 30% target for 2030. This new target will drive Europe towards increased competitiveness, sustainability, and security of supply. More specifically, it will generate new jobs, provide opportunities for European businesses such as construction firms, and reduce our natural gas imports by 30%.
The EU is well positioned to reach its new target for 2030, being on track for the 2020 target. The Communication indicates that the EU will achieve the 2020 target provided that the existing legislation is fully and properly implemented by the Member States. Reaching the proposed 2030 target requires these policies to be strengthened over time. The Commission will continue to work closely with the Member States to undertake the necessary short-term and long-term actions.
The Energy Efficiency Communication is an important component of the 2030 Communication on energy and climate change, released in January 2014, which proposed new 2030 targets for greenhouse gas reductions and renewable energy – 40% and at least 27% respectively.
EU leaders agreed to propose Jean Claude Juncker to the European Parliament for President of the European Commission and defined the strategic agenda of key priorities for the next five years. The European Council took also stock of progress made on the 2030 climate and energy policy framework and looked at a set of most urgent measures to strengthen Europe’s energy security.
The European Commission was represented by Günther H. Oettinger.
The Council reached a political agreement on the issue of possible Indirect Land Use Change related to the production of biofuels. This was followed by a comprehensive policy debate on other key energy policy fields at the top of the EU agenda, such as energy security, the completion of the internal energy market and the policy framework for 2030. The Energy Ministers also discussed energy prices and costs. Council conclusions on energy prices and costs, vulnerable consumers and competitiveness were adopted.
The Hellenic Presidency and the Commission then gave an update on recent developments in the EU's external energy relations. The Commission also briefed the Ministers about the latest developments in the nuclear field. At the end of the meeting the Italian delegation presented their programme for the next EU presidency, which is to start in July.
The European Commission reacts on the current geopolitical environment and the EU´s import dependence: It advocates a new European Energy Security Strategy. Diversifying external energy supplies, upgrading energy infrastructure, completing the EU internal energy market and saving energy are among its main points. The strategy also highlights the need to coordinate national energy policy decisions and the importance of speaking with one voice when negotiating with external partners. It builds on the progress already achieved since the gas crisis in 2009. The proposals of the Commission, including actions to ensure uninterrupted supplies this winter, will be discussed by EU Heads of State or Government at the European Council on 26-27 June.
Commissioner Günther Oettinger said: "We want strong and stable partnerships with important suppliers, but must avoid falling victim to political and commercial blackmail. The EU and its Member States have a long list of homework in front of them: Collectively, we need to reinforce our solidarity with more vulnerable Member States. We also need to complete the internal energy market, improve our infrastructure, become more energy efficient and better exploit our own energy resources. Moreover, we need to accelerate the diversification of external energy suppliers, especially for gas. Only concrete actions will help."
Today European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, EU Energy Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk discussed on ways ahead for EU energy on the occasion of the conference "Paving the way for a European Energy Security Strategy". President Barroso provided orientations on a "European Energy Security Strategy", which the European Commission intends to present ahead of the European Council of 26 and 27 of June. Commissioner Oettinger focused on how to strengthen Europe's security of supply and Polish Prime Minister Tusk presented his proposal for an Energy Union for Europe. In the morning, energy leaders discussed issues such as completing the internal energy market, saving energy, increasing domestic energy production as well as diversifying sources, routes and counterparties of energy imports.
The European Commission has launched the first call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help finance key trans-European energy infrastructure projects. A total of €750 million will be made available for first priority projects mainly in the gas and electricity sectors. These projects will address security of supply issues and help bring an end to the energy isolation of some Member States. They will also contribute to the completion of the EU-wide internal energy market and to the integration of renewables to the energy grid. The EU funding will accelerate investment in missing cross-border links by leveraging the necessary private and public funding.
European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said: "This is a crucial step. Such a huge amount of EU financial support will make a solid difference. The current Ukraine crisis underlines the importance of upgrading energy infrastructure and building missing interconnections between Member States in order to enhance the energy security in the EU. In general Member States can only help each other with energy supplies, if they are well connected. Moreover, improving the energy infrastructure is a prerequisite for completing the internal energy market for the benefit of consumers and businesses in the EU."