Claude Turmes, Green MEP & Rapporteur on Energy Efficiency for the European Parliament met with leading energy journalist Hughes Belin to discuss the Energy Efficiency Directive.
Mr Turmes argues that energy efficiency will have an even bigger impact on the future of Europe than the Renewables Directive or market liberalization. It remains, however, difficult amidst the current Economic crisis to get progressive policies in place, according to the rapporteur.
To illustrate his claim, the green MEP goes into detail when it comes to negotiations between the three institutions regarding the Energy Efficiency Directive. After bringing the 2200 amendments proposed in the European Parliament back to 18 core amendments, there is now a solid mandate to negotiate on behalf of the EP.
Subsequently, a mandate from the 27 Member States has to be found. In this case, that specific stage of the process turns out to be more difficult as quite some national governments oppose to binding national energy targets. Moreover, Turmes expresses his concerns over the strong “lobby by those who earn by being inefficient”. That is oil and gas companies, fearing lower sales volumes if Europe reaches a higher degree of energy efficiency.
The rapporteur on energy efficiency points out that Europe “throws out” 500 billion euro a year for oil & gas imports. Accordingly, the European Union ought to support countries that face financial constraints, such as Spain and Greece, in stimulating measures to increase energy efficiency. By adapting a model such as the one initiated by the German KFW bank, through which every euro of government subsidies spend on energy efficiency brings back 4 to 5 euro in the public treasury, we would be able to boost the European economy while increasing energy efficiency.