EU governments set dangerous direction for Europe’s energy system

18 December 2017

European Union ministers set a dangerous direction for the continent’s energy future at a summit in Brussels today. [1]

Energy ministers agreed to stick with the low target for renewable energy of 27% by 2030. This figure would actually mean a slow-down in the current growth of renewable energy, and was agreed despite Denmark and Portugal signaling that they wanted a higher target. [2]

By weakening definitions and provisions on citizen and community ownership, ministers turned their backs on European citizens’ chance to participate in and benefit from the energy transition.


Molly Walsh, climate justice and renewables campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:

“Our governments are completely failing to grasp that we are in a critical decade for the climate and we have to go fossil free.
There was a clear choice of political paths today - a clean energy future in the hands of communities or a fossil fuel future for vested interests. Sadly they have chosen the latter.
Ministers have riddled the European Commission proposal with loopholes. They are arguing over percentage points when none of the numbers on the table come near what is needed.

It was particularly disappointing to see Spain and Germany play such a detrimental role in these negotiations as they deny their citizens the benefits of the transition to clean energy.”

Energy Ministers debated into the night on the controversial support for fossil fuel power plants in the form of so-called capacity mechanisms. The final agreement reached means the continued bankrolling of polluters, with billions of euros of taxpayers’ money set to fund the building of new fossil fuel plants, and extended life support for existing ones. This decision allows EU governments to subsidize coal for another decade and fossil gas even longer.

Commenting on agreements reached on the Internal Electricity regulation, Molly Walsh saidToday EU governments have made the fossil fuel industry proud, by locking us into decades more of burning fossil fuels. This agreement sets Europe on a path to climate chaos. Where are the fine words we saw from EU governments in Paris?”

The meeting reached agreement on two three key files; the Renewable Energy Directive, the Governance of the Energy Union Regulation, and the Market Design Initiative.

[3] ‘Can the climate afford Europe’s gas addiction?’ from Friends of the Earth Europe, and the research report, ‘Natural gas and climate change’, by Anderson and Broderick, are available at: