Although the MEPs reduced some of the Rapporteur’s more ambitious proposals, the three Reports received wide cross-party support
During the 15 January 2018 EP Plenary, the MEPs held a debate on three Proposals of the ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ Package – the Energy Efficiency Directive, the RES Directive, and the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union.
The debate was followed by a vote on 17 January, where the Report on the RES Directive, helmed by the Spanish MEP, José Blanco López, received overwhelming support with 492 MEPs voting in favour, 88 against, and 107 abstaining. Furthermore, the Report of the Czech MEP, Miroslav Poche, on amending the Energy Efficiency Directive was adopted with 485 MEPs voting in favour, 132 against, and 58 abstaining. Finally, the Report on the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union, tabled by the co-Rapporteurs Michèle Rivasi and Claude Turmes, was also overwhelmingly adopted with 466 MEPs voting in favour, 139 against, and 38 abstaining.
By adopting the Report on the RES Directive, the MEPs agreed to a non-binding 35% RES target for 2030, dismissing other proposals such as a non-binding 40% RES target or a binding 35% RES goal. This contrasts with the more humble position of the Council from 20 December 2017, which supported the EC’s Proposal of a 27% RES target for 2030.
As to the Energy Efficiency Directive Proposal, one of the main issues on which the EP backtracked is the 40% energy efficiency target, which was abandoned for a binding 35% goal for 2030. However, the MEPs managed to agree on an energy savings goal of 1,5% that, for the first time as proposed in the draft report, includes the transport sector.
The adopted position on the Governance of the Energy Union includes some interesting and promising proposals such as the plans for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and for the establishment of a carbon budget.
The three Reports were sent back to the ITRE Committee to start the inter-institutional negotiations with the Council and the EC, known as trilogues. In spite of the cheerful mood following the adoption of the texts by the Plenary, the negotiations with the Council are expected to be tough and possibly prolonged in time, owing to the fact that although the EP adopted somewhat watered-down positions, its position is still more ambitious than that of its co-legislator. The MEPs’ strong support for reinforcing the EU clean energy policies thus puts the EP on a collision course with a number of Member States in the Council.
The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, which started on the 01 January 2018, will be tasked with chaperoning the trilogues on the foregoing three key items of the “Winter Package”, which trilogues are expected to start in the next few weeks.