France, Germany lead EU ministers to energy-savings deal

26 June 2017 by Laurel Henning 

A joint proposal from France and Germany on new energy-saving rules for the EU after 2020 has formed the basis of an agreement among national ministers on efforts to improve the bloc's efficiency.

Under today's deal, ministers agreed on a goal for the bloc to become 30 percent more efficient by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. But the accord also deletes wording on whether the deal is a binding goal. 

Ministers spent almost eight hours debating updates to EU energy-efficiency laws with the aim of being able to start negotiations with the European Parliament on the file. 

Michał Kurtyka, Poland's under-secretary of state, said the lack of wording on whether the goals are binding "will be difficult for future negotiations."

The text goes against a European Commission proposal for a binding goal of 30 percent, put forward last November. 

National representatives who voted against today's deal said it contradicted a previous agreement reached among EU heads of state and government in 2014 on a nonbinding goal of 27 percent. 

Following today's accord, EU climate chief Miguel Arias Cañete said it was "a complicated compromise" that "falls short," but one that was needed after US President Donald Trump announced his wish to withdraw from a UN climate accord earlier this month. 

EU governments will now enter negotiations on the dossier once the parliament has finalized its position.

The new energy-saving laws can only enter into force once governments and members of the assembly reach a deal on the legislative updates.

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