Ahead of the special EU energy summit on Friday (4 February), Alliance for Democracy (ALDE) MEPs have called on Members States to make ambitious and bold decisions to put Europe’s energy future on a sustainable footing.
EU Heads of State and Government are set to discuss how to improve Europe’s energy infrastructure, promote innovative energy technologies and coordinate the EU’s energy policy towards third countries. However, the lack of concrete proposals on the table, in particular in the field of energy efficiency has drawn widespread criticism by environmental campaigners and industry alike.
Commenting after a debate in the European Parliament on the upcoming European Council, Lena Ek MEP (Centerpartiet, Sweden), ALDE coordinator on the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) Committee, said that “While the rest of the world is tackling the energy challenge head on, the European Commission and Council are still dithering about whether to commit to meaningful targets and the necessary financial support to drive innovation and growth”.
“The US and China – she went on commenting – are already investing heavily in research and new technologies in what President Obama has called our generation’s Sputnik moment”.
“The time has come to regain momentum towards a sustainable EU energy system. With more research and greater incentives, we can transform Europe into a competitive eco-efficient economy where the green jobs of tomorrow will be created”, concluded the swedish MEP.
Fiona Hall (Liberal Democrat, UK), rapporteur for the 2006 Energy Efficiency Action Plan, added that “So far, the Commission and Member States have neither provided a clear and coherent EU energy strategy nor adequately enforced existing laws”.
“The first step towards a sustainable energy future is to reduce our energy consumption altogether. In order to plan Europe’s future energy infrastructure cost-effectively much more attention needs to be given to the demand side.”
“The Council and Commission have so far been dragging their feet on energy efficiency – with the result that instead of reaching our 20% energy saving target by 2020 we are on course of only achieving a meagre 9%.”
“We are calling on the Council to make the 20% energy efficiency target legally binding and commit to the SET-plan to make sure that energy saving targets are considered in all European policies, including the budget, CAP and Europe 2020 strategy.”
ALDE MEP Adina Valean (PNL, Romania) concluded the EU “need to be pragmatic as well as ambitious and should focus on identifying and financing smaller and cost-efficient projects that can make a significant difference rather than only looking at grand schemes and prestige projects.”