Brussels, 18 June 2010

EU Energy Saving Target Key to Achieving the New Europe 2020 Objectives

As representatives of a range of business and professional associations and civil society interests, we are firmly convinced of the multi-faceted benefits of energy saving and consider that the EU must urgently  step up its action in this regard.

We regret that the European Council did not pay more attention to energy saving this week, as it gathered in Brussels to endorse the Europe 2020 strategy for steering the EU toward a smart, sustainable and inclusive economic future. Improving energy efficiency to help meet the EU’s target of lowering energy use by 20% by 2020 is a win-win-win solution, which should be acknowledged as lying at the heart of the new 2020 objectives.

Meeting the existing 20% target could generate a million new, local jobs, greatly reduce imported energy dependency and help Europe and its businesses take the lead in the global race for innovative and sustainable products. It is also integral to the EU’s climate and energy objectives. Yet  at current rates, only half of the target will be achieved. The consequence of this failure will be an unnecessary additional cost to consumers of 78 billion Euros annually at a time of severe budgetary constraints, an increase in the need for harsh and unpopular austerity measures and undermining the achievement of Europe’s strategic goals[1].

Practices and technologies to achieve the necessary savings are already available. We call on you to urgently take the steps necessary to see that these solutions are acted upon. This means taking on a higher level of commitment and accountability for delivering on the existing 20% target.

Overcoming the barriers to energy saving requires a new impetus for targeted efficiency policies and programmes, alongside strengthened price signals. We consider that binding targets would help to establish this impetus, as has been demonstrated for other priority policy areas—for example in the case  of renewable energy and air quality. We note that the European Parliament again called for such a target  in its Resolution on the Europe 2020 Strategy, voted this week[2].

Even taking into account the economic recession and policies adopted since the 2006 Energy Efficiency Action Plan (EEAP), a three-fold increase in policy impact will be needed to achieve the 20% target. The next 12 months represent a narrow window of opportunity: the forthcoming Energy Action Plan and review of the 2006 EEAP must set out the framework and new legislation to ensure that the savings gap is closed.

While many Member States will have to reduce budget deficits in the coming years, a 20% binding target for energy saving will help incentivise action in the most strategic areas, to the economic and environmental benefit of all Europeans. We hope that those benefits are at the forefront of European leaders’ minds and that energy saving will be made the first order priority for the EU’s economic recovery and new ‘EU2020’ strategy.

[1] Figures cited in this letter are from the preliminary findings of the forthcoming study ‘Energy Savings 2020’ by Eco fys and Fraunhofer ISI, to be published in September 2010.

[2] The European Parliament resolution on the EU 2020 Strategy (P7_TA(2010)0223) is at



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  • CECODHAS (The European Liaison Committee for Social Housing) is the European Committee for social and cooperatives housing, a network of national and regional social housing federations. Website:
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