The EU Council closed on Friday (March, 21) its first discussion on climate and energy policy in the period from 2020 to 2030. EU government leaders gathered in Brussels were tasked to evaluate for the first time the Commission’s proposal on the EU targets that will ensue after the current 20-20-20 strategy will expire, during a two-day meeting with a tight schedule dominated by recent events in Ukraine.
According to the Council’s release, a final decision on the new policy framework will be taken “as quickly as possible and no later than October 2014”. The Council also agreed that the EU will submit its contribution to the UNFCCC on the global climate agreement expected for 2015 “at the latest by the first quarter of 2015”, thus in line with deadlines agreed in Warsaw.
The schedule panders to EU member states reluctant to approve formal commitments before to have seen how much effort other major countries intend to undertake, waiting at least for the UN meeting solicited by the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to be held in New York in September.
The EU Council stated that the new EU goals on climate and energy should “improve coherence between greenhouse gas emissions reduction, energy efficiency and the use of renewables and deliver the objectives for 2030 in a cost-effective manner, with a reformed Emissions Trading System playing a central role in this regard”, providing “flexibility for the Member States as to how they deliver their commitments”. The Council also called for “a supportive EU framework for advancing renewable energies” and measures to “ensure security of energy supply for households and businesses at affordable and competitive prices”.
Tones recall the principles at the base of the Commission’s package for 2030 disclosed in January, setting a 40 percent GHG emissions cut below 1990 levels, an EU-wide 27 percent increase in renewables and improvements in energy saving measures to be defined after a June review of the current directive on energy efficiency. The EU Parliament on February voted against the proposal, calling for three binding and more demanding targets. Major uncertainties concern the role of the energy efficiency, indicated by the EU Council as the “first step” to reduce EU energy dependency, a current top priority for the 28 bloc.