Two important decisions have been taken at today’s Energy Council in Luxembourg: the Council has adopted general approaches relating to the EU Energy Efficiency Directive and the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Dr Robert Habeck said: "Today’s Energy Council was very successful. We have taken two key decisions on greater climate action. For the first time, we have succeeded in reaching agreement on a binding EU energy efficiency target. This is a great success. In addition, today’s Energy Council sends out a strong signal in terms of the expansion of renewable energy. The current renewables target of 32% by 2030 has been increased to 40%. And what is even more important: the expansion of renewable energy has been classified as an overriding European public interest. Europe is thus making a clear commitment to greater energy efficiency and a faster expansion of renewable energy. Both decisions are crucial to make the EU less dependent on fossil fuels and to step up the pace of climate action. Today’s outcome is a good starting point for tomorrow’s Environment Council, which will deal with important climate dossiers. At tomorrow‘s Council, we will build on the will of the Member States to achieve agreement, which became very clear today."

The Council of the EU Energy Ministers today dealt with two important dossiers of the ‘Fit for 55’ package: the EU Renewable Energy Directive and the EU Energy Efficiency Directive. As regards the Energy Efficiency Directive, a first breakthrough was already achieved this morning. A general approach has been reached which, for the first time, includes an EU final energy efficiency target that is not just indicative but is actually binding. The efficiency target has thus been given the same priority as the renewables target, and a reliable basis has been created for European and national energy efficiency policies.

The current EU-wide reduction target has been considerably increased. In view of a forecast on the development of consumption up to 2030, primary and final energy consumption in the EU must be reduced by 9%. During the negotiations, Germany successfully advocated that all EU Member States contribute to reaching the target. In the event that any Member State fails to achieve its contribution, it must now fulfil specific obligations to meet the requirements. In the past, there was no binding EU target, and the European Commission had only limited possibilities to make sure that the target would be achieved.

As regards the EU Renewable Energy Directive, the binding target of 32% by 2030 has been increased to 40%. In addition, ambitious targets for individual sectors, namely heat, transport, buildings and industry, and targets and general provisions for the ramp-up of green hydrogen, have been adopted. Furthermore, the expansion of renewable energy and the related grid expansion have for the first time been classified as a matter of overriding European public interest and European security. This is an important political signal and crucial to speed up authorisation procedures.

The EU Renewable Energy Directive and the EU Energy Efficiency Directive are two important elements of the European Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ package, which aims to reduce the EU’s net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels and thus attain greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050.

Part 1 of the ‘Fit for 55’ package has been adopted today. Part 2 will be dealt with at tomorrow’s Environment Council: the important dossiers regarding the EU emissions trading system and its extension to buildings and transport (ETS 2), the Social Climate Fund, the EU fleet target and the Effort Sharing Regulation.

An overview of the decisions taken at today’s Energy Council can be found here.