EU ministers approve clean-energy package despite Belgian reservations

European Union member States have approved three clean-energy dossiers despite reservations expressed by Belgium on behalf of its regions.
The EU ministers approved a revised Efficient Energy Directive, a revised Renewable Energy Directive and a new Governance Regulation, negotiated in recent months with the European Parliament based on proposals presented by the Commission in late 2016.

The two directives require the EU to obtain 32% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and to improve its energy efficiency by 32.5% by the same target date. The regulation on governance has direct bearing on the Energy Union and action on climate matters.

Le Soir reported on Tuesday that Belgium voted against the energy efficiency proposal and abstained on renewable energy, thus reflecting the reservations of its three regions, which had been known for some time now.

In June last, Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois (New Flemish Alliance, N-VA) had called for an impact study to assess the cost of raising energy targets, saying that he feared this might not be affordable.

Despite the reservations, the three legislative texts adopted on Tuesday should be published in the EU’s official gazette on 21 December. The revised Efficient Energy Directive and revised Renewable Energy Directive will take effect 20 days after their publication. The new Governance Regulation will become effective on the third day following its publication.

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