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EU summit

EU leaders squeeze life out of climate and clean energy policy at crucial juncture

Commenting on the outcome of the summit of EU heads of state and government, Greens/EFA co-president Philippe Lamberts said:

"EU leaders have squeezed the life out of Europe's 2030 climate and clean energy policy. The outcome of the summit is a mistake on three fronts: environmental, economic and strategic. After a decade of progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting homegrown, clean and safe energy, the 2030 targets agreed at this summit will stall further advancements on renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change policies. This is a blow for Europe's attempts to become more energy independent and will stymie the economic and job creating potential of these sectors, as well as destroying existing jobs.

"Apart from the damage this will do domestically, strategically, it is a terrible signal to send at a critical juncture for global climate change action, coming just one year out from the crucial UN climate summit in Paris. While the headline figure of 40% is already far below what is necessary, both to limit global warming to 2 degrees and to spur the green economy, it would actually amount to a far lower reduction due to various loopholes.

EU governments have today taken climate and energy policy hostage. The European Parliament voted for 3 binding targets earlier this year and it must now work with the incoming European Commission to try and salvage something from this mess."

Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms continued:

"This summit has produced a lowest common denominator outcome for EU climate and energy policy. With each member state preoccupied with the preservation of some perceived narrow national interest, the outcome is a hollowing-out of the EU's policy to 2030. It is also a major setback to Europe's efforts to wean us off our damaging dependence on unreliable fossil fuel exporters.

"The new laissez-faire approach to renewable energy being proposed by the Commission is a sop to those countries like the UK and Poland that want to pursue risky or dirty energy from nuclear, coal and shale gas. The overall 'headline target' for 2030 is not just devoid of ambition, it is also little more than an aspirational goal, with no binding provisions on EU member states. This is a major step back for the promotion of renewables, which will hit jobs and the economy. Combined with the failure to propose an ambitious and binding energy savings target, it is also a blow for our energy security."