On 23 and 24 October, EU heads of state and government met in Brussels to hold a meeting of the European Council. The principal point of the agenda was the 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework. Following months of tough negotiations, the leaders agreed on 4 targets to be achieved by 2030: at least 40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction compared to 1990 – a binding goal to be distributed to individual Member States; at least 27% of renewables in the energy mix – a binding target on EU level, thus not distributed individually to Member States; an indicative 27% goal of increase in energy efficiency – a non-binding EU-wide target to be reviewed by 2020 with a possible increase to 30%; and finally a binding goal of 10% increase in interconnectivity. Also, interconnectors to “energy islands”, such as Iberian Peninsula and the Baltics, are to be constructed as a matter of urgency. These numbers are a compromise between backers of ambitious goals ahead of the global climate talks in December next year and mainly countries from the East-Central Europe, led by Poland, which called for a more industry-friendly stance. In matters of energy security, the EU should refocus on the Southern Gas Corridor and support efforts for LNG terminals in the Baltics and in Southern Europe. As usual, the reactions to the deal are ambivalent. NGOs, such as Greenpeace, call the 2030 framework far too insufficient, while industry associations point out the economic burden brought upon them, mainly having in mind the competition from third countries without such environmental policies. Hermann Van Rompuy, for whom this summit was the last he held as President of the European Council, called the compromise ambitious and cost-effective at the same time.
19th January 2019