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25 September 2014

How binding is binding?

The European Council is expected to agree on the 2030 climate and energy framework during its October meeting. Their discussion will be based on the European Commission’s proposals: three targets and actions ensuring that the greenhouse gas target becomes legally binding while explicitly refraining from making the renewable energy target binding. The situation with regard to the energy efficiency target is different. The Commission stated its preference for an indicative EU-wide target but did not exclude further actions which would make it totally or at least partially binding – which is what happened with the Energy Efficiency Directive’s 1.5% annual energy savings obligation. It is against this context that a number of Member States are positioning themselves on whether the energy efficiency target should become legally binding or not. Advocates of a non-binding target include the U.K. and the Czech Republic, who announced in its recent position that they would support an efficiency target only if it is not leading to mandatory national targets. On the other side, ministers of seven Member States called for a binding and ambitious target earlier this year. Since the European Council takes decision by consensus, a deal on this matter will be difficult. In any case heads of states or governments should not, according to the Treaties, exercise legislative functions, but define the general political directions and priorities. Source: The Coalition for Energy Savings coalition