In a plenary vote today, the European Parliament backed a proposal to increase targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2030, as demanded by the Socialists and Democrats. The S&D Group also got support for its proposed measures to improve the situation of those citizens who have difficulties paying their energy bills.

S&D shadow rapporteur on energy efficiency, Miroslav Poche, said:

“Energy efficiency is crucial for achieving the climate targets we accepted in Paris last year, at the UN Climate COP 21 conference. 

“If we succeed in improving our energy efficiency we will also succeed in overcoming our dependency on expensive energy imports and we will achieve environmental sustainability. A binding target to increase our energy efficiency by 40% for 2030 will save money for our industries and citizens.

“On the one hand it is crucial to fully implement existing EU legislation to reach our 2020 targets, and some member states still need to do their homework. On the other hand, we need to start working on the future now. We are expecting ambitious proposals, with strong binding targets, from the Commission this autumn.”

S&D shadow rapporteur on renewable energy, Csaba Molnár MEP, said:

“You don’t have to be a tree hugger to like renewables. It is enough to be a cost-cutter. Renewables are already cheaper today than most conventional forms of energy. 

“On the other hand, renewables are the main reason why Europe is becoming less and less addicted to foreign oil and gas. Moreover, renewable energies are creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, economic growth and are making us a global leader in technology.

“For that we have a clear progressive vision. We need binding national targets post-2020. Binding targets increase certainty for investors and create quality jobs and growth. We also need to abolish all unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy, which impedes renewable development.

“We should not resist the transition to renewables, but we should be at the forefront.”

 S&D spokesperson on energy, Dan Nica MEP, said:

“The directives on energy efficiency and renewable energy have triggered many positive developments in most member states. These two pillars of the energy union are essential to reduce EU dependence and improve energy security.

“In future progress reports on renewable energy, it will be important to have an assessment of their impact on costs and prices, especially prices for households.

“We are also delighted that there was a strong majority for our proposals to put energy poverty at the heart of the energy union. Over 50 million EU citizens have difficulties in paying their energy bills. Today the Parliament sent a strong message to the Commission that it expects the forthcoming legislation on energy efficiency to give priority to measures to help low-income households and those at risk of energy poverty.”

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