Miroslav Poche – EED speech

Miroslav Poche – EED speech

On 30 November 2016, the Commission published its so-called ‘Winter Package’. Winter Package is definitely one of the most important proposals that we have dealt with under this mandate in the European Parliament. Europeans are very concerned about climate change and support action across the EU to tackle it. According to the Special Eurobarometer Report on Climate Change published in September 2017, 92% of EU citizens see climate change as a serious problem and 74% see it as a „very serious“ problem. Nearly nine in ten believe it is important for their national government to set targets to increase renewable energy use by 2030 and provide support for improving energy efficiency by 2030. Climate change represents one of the biggest challenges for humankind in the 21st century and it is crystal-clear that taking action to address climate change is one of the top priorities for the European Union.

Let me focus on the Energy Efficiency Directive and its importance, because, as an EED Parliamentary rapporteur, I went through every detail of this proposal. Following months of trilogue talks, we finally agreed to set the 2030 target at 32.5% compared to a reference scenario, which goes beyond the level originally proposed by the European Commission. The final deal contains also real final energy savings under Article 7 of 0.8% a year. We estimate that the agreed energy saving target will create 840,000 additional jobs in the EU. Moreover, it was agreed to review the level of the target in 2023. This should allow take into account the falling costs of technologies and the imperative of the Paris agreement climate objective.

Many of you will certainly ask – have we reached a good deal or not? And are we on the right track towards achieving the commitments of the Paris Agreement?

The outcome of the negotiations was, in my opinion, a great success. I am convinced that this is a good deal for our citizens. The 32.5% target deal will bring major reductions in energy consumption, boost our industrial competitiveness, create jobs, reduce energy bills, help tackle energy poverty and improve air quality. This deal will also play a crucial role in meeting our obligations stemming from the Paris climate change agreement. 

I would like to point out that talks between Parliament and Council were very difficult and we genuinely reached the best possible outcome. While the European Parliament fought for a higher and binding target at the level of 35 % for energy efficiency, the Council and Commission had different positions, namely on the energy efficiency target. Luckily both the Commission and Council also showed great willingness to compromise. I am pleased to see that everyone acknowledged the fact that energy efficiency is key to achieving the ambitious carbon reduction goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Energy efficiency first principle is the only sustainable approach at all the levels – national, regional, local and private. I am persuaded that the Paris goals cannot be reached if we don´t intense our efforts related to energy efficiency. This has to be reflected in all other EU policies. The debates on MFF 2021+ already started. I believe that especially you, representatives of regional and local administrations, are familiar with the proposals. Promoting energy efficiency is one of the key supported action and we, parliamentarians, have to make sure that its importance would not be diminished during the future negotiations on particular regional policy regulations. 

Back to the EED directive. The final proposal contains a requirement for the Commission to revise the target level by 2023, in light of the Paris Agreement. The Commission is expected to take into account significant cost reductions resulting from economic or technological changes. Under the Governance Regulation, there will be reference points 2022, 2025 and 2027 when progress towards the 2030 energy efficiency target will be assessed. The EU needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, in order to deliver on its Paris commitments, and energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to do this. 

Now, let me address especially the representatives of local and regional authorities. Once the Member States will transpose the directive into national laws, it will be your task to make sure national legislators implement the Directive. You should act and invest accordingly. You must scale up efforts and support actions to reduce emissions. The action at local level is essential. 

We have a historic opportunity and responsibility towards the next generations. I believe that the Paris Agreement is only to be achieved if there is understanding, cooperation and action at all levels. The EU, national governments, regional and local governments, business, industry together with citizens are responsible for tackling climate change. Cities, regions and national governments must work together and follow a shared roadmap and mutually supportive policies to accelerate action on the short and long terms. The earlier we act, the lower the costs for our planet. I believe that we are still on the right track towards achieving the commitments of the Paris Agreement, but a lot is at stake and wrong or slow actions can still cause irretrievable damage.

I would like to thank you very much for inviting me to this interesting event to discuss the Energy Efficiency Directive in light of the Paris Climate Agreement.