At a two-day summit beginning on Thursday, E.U. heads of state will try to agree on ambitious targets to save energy and reduce emissions.
“At the E.U. level, the goal is to improve energy efficiency by 30 percent by 2030,” according to a draft statement that Handelsblatt has obtained.
But the outlook is cloudy.
The United Kingdom opposes any target, and several Eastern European countries, including Poland with its growing manufacturing base, are reluctant to commit.
The European Union has been emphasizing for months the need to reduce dependency on imported energy, given the crises in the Ukraine, which is a transit country for natural gas flowing from Russia. Greater energy efficiency would be one way to achieve this, offcials in Brussels argue.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has calculated that if energy efficiency increases by 40 percent, the economic bloc could reduce its gas imports by approximately 40 percent and oil imports by 19 percent, compared to 2010 levels.
If, however, the overall goal is to increase energy efficiency by just 30 percent, the reductions in imports would fall by only 22 percent and 16 percent respectively.
Numerous managers have signed a letter to Herman van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, calling for a binding agreement on an energy efficiency target of 40 percent. Signatories of the letter include executives from General Electric, Philips, Siemens and Velux.