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Stricter rules to come on energy efficiency

Stricter EU energy efficiency and performance laws will be rolled out by the European Commission in 2016, and enforcement of existing regulation will be further stepped up, the bloc’s energy chief told EurActiv.

Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič confirmed that the new rules would have stronger requirements than the existing Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

But he conceded there was little chance of national governments agreeing to revise upwards their target of increasing their energy efficiency by 27% by 2030, which was agreed last October with the option of revisiting it in 2020.

On 18 June, the Commission referred Greece to the European Court of Justice for not implementing the EED. It faces a daily penalty of €29145.60 until the law is put in place.

Final warnings were also sent to Germany, Austria, Portugal, Croatia, Bulgaria, Ireland, Latvia and Romania. The next step will be to bring the governments in front of EU judges.

In March, the Commission brought legal action against every EU member state, with the sole exception of Malta, for failing to make the EED national law. Hungary was referred to the European Court of Justice in March.

The executive wants Budapest fined €15,444 daily for not transposing the directive by the June 2014 deadline.

There was more enforcement action to come, Mr Šefčovič told EurActiv.

On 18 June the bloc becomes 100% dependent on energy imports for this year. It spends more than €1bn every day to import the energy it needs.

Mr Šefčovič is touring Europe to drum up more support for the Energy Union, which plans to create a grid where surplus energy in one part of the EU can make up shortfalls elsewhere.

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