Negotiations were tough on the Energy Efficiency Directive, but now only the signature is missing on one of the Danish EU presidency’s key priorities, said Danish Climate and Energy Minister Martin Lidegaard.
The directive, agreed on Wednesday evening (13 June) by EU negotiators, aimed to cut down Europe’s energy consumption by 20%, but after negotiations the target will be set at 17%.
“It is with great pleasure that the Danish presidency has made a deal with the European Parliament and the Commission,” Lidegaard told the Danish daily Politiken after the negotiations.
“It has been underway for a long time and there have been tough negotiations. Therefore I also have to say that, this is a deal which will be approved on Friday by my colleagues and I when we have the meeting in the Council,” Lidegaard said.
When the directive becomes law, it will be binding in all 27 EU member states, meaning EU countries will collectively have to save 17% of their energy consumption by 2020.
“It’s only 17% because that was possible to get. We fought like lions. We started at 13%, and now we have 17%, and that is actually something we are proud of,” Lidegaard said.
He added that the deal would in the short term create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Europe, and in a longer term, would contribute significantly to reaching the climate goals and decrease the EU's dependence on fossil fuels.
Connie Hedegaard, the EU's Climate Action commissioner, who is also from Denmark, said it was “about time” a deal had been reached.
“They have spoken about it for a really, really long time, and had some very fine targets. But there have been differences as to which tools should be used to get there,” she said.
“It’s good that the member states finally have agreed on that it’s not enough to say that they will do something about energy efficiency. It looks like that if it goes through, they are taking some steps forward,” she added.