A meeting of the EU’s 28 energy minister at the end of June ended with an agreement on the revision of two important energy efficiency directives – the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

As expected, member states disagreed over whether the EU-wide 30% energy efficiency target should be legally binding or not. Some EU countries insisted it should only be indicative, while others went a step further and said it should be lowered to 27%. The compromise proposal settled on a non-binding 30% target, which, if adopted, would mean an increase on the 20% target currently in force, which is also non-binding.

Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU’s Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy acknowledged that the agreement on the Energy Efficiency Directive had not been easy and added that it fell “below the ambition of the Commission”. The Commissioner also expressed his disappointment at a decision to reduce the target for charging points for electric vehicles that was proposed for the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The Commission’s original proposal which could have seen over 3 million charging points rolled out into new and existing buildings, was diluted by 96%. Environmental NGOs were also critical of the decisions.

There was some positive news from the meeting, namely the decision to verify new and simplified energy use labels for domestic appliances.