ENERGY : MEMBER STATES DISAPPOINT BARROSO ON EFFICIENCY.

Speaking to journalists, on 5 January, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called for member states to meet commitments to make energy savings of 20%. Barroso was briefing journalists ahead of a special summit by EU leaders, on 4 February, now devoted to both energy and innovation issues. The Commission president wants member states, at the special summit, to commit to "concrete" steps to reach the indicative target of a 20% reduction in primary energy use compared with projected levels.

"I am unhappy with progress on energy efficiency," Barroso said. An energy savings target was set by EU leaders at their summit in March 2007. Unlike targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% before 2020 and increasing to 20% the share of renewables in final energy consumption, the energy savings target is not binding. Barroso, however, is still not clear whether or not the Commission will push leaders for binding targets, even if just for specific sectors. He merely notes that the energy savings target set in March 2007 did not specify the concrete steps. "This is probably one of the reasons why we are not going so fast as in other areas, such as renewables," said Barroso. He pointed out that if EU member states progress at the same (slow) pace in terms of energy efficiency, there will only be savings of 10%.

"Member states have agreed on a 20% target, but so far they are not delivering," continued...

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