The Commission’s Communication on Energy efficiency issued on 23 July  for the ‘2030 Framework for climate and energy policy’ proposes a new energy saving target of 30% by 2030. In October the EU Council is expected  to go for the suggested target while Member States could also leave the target not  binding.

Energy efficiency policies have gained momentum in the context of the Ukraine crisis as EU member states seek to do all they can to reduce the need for imported Russian energy.

Following the announcement, civil society organisations, business representatives MEPs from all mainstream factions in the Europe, critisized the decision of the Commission especially because the European Parliament backed a 40% target earlier this year. The is seen as a missed opportunity while the Commission itself ignored its own modelling which apparently showed that a 40% target could grow the economy at a rate of 4% a year, create an annual 3.15% boost in employment and massively cut fossil fuel imports by up to €500 billion annually.

The EU currently has three 2020 climate plans: a target of 20% greenhouse gas reduction as measured against 1990 levels, a 20% share for renewable energy in the bloc’s energy mix, and a non-binding goal of a 20% energy efficiency improvement, measured against 2005 levels.

EU is currently far from these targets and Commission officially acknowledged that EU will fail to reach these figures. “By our analysis we can say we will be achieving 18% to 19% of energy efficiency,” Oettinger commented.

According to the EU executive, the outcome for 2020 lies in the hands of member states: “If the member states were prepared to implement fully the legally binding measures, then we would achieve the 20% figure,” said Oettinger.