A week after MEPs voted in favour of increasing efficiency and renewable energy targets, the lead rapporteur on the recast of the energy efficiency directive was replaced amid criticism on his stance regarding European energy saving policies.
Last week, the European Parliament’s committee on industry, transport, research and energy (ITRE) was due to vote on two crucial directives that form part of the European Commission’s Clean Energy for All Europeans package of legislation. The ballots were cast during a tense session, as no one could predict the outcome of the vote. After a polarised marathon-of-a-campaign, filled heated word exchanges and personal attacks.
German conservative MEP Markus Pieper even accused some liberal political groups of spreading “fake news.” In the end, however, the progressive factions led by the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group threw their weight behind a binding 40% target championed by rapporteur Adam Gierek, while conservatives pushed for a lower efficiency goal. It proved to be the right choice as the reform narrowly made it (33 votes in favour and 32 against).
The vote finally was secured thanks to the support of the liberal ALDE and Greens/EFA groups, as the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) refused to back the project. All the while, the far-right Europe of Nations and Freedom tried once again to block the legislation – as they have done for most energy efficiency bill in the recent years.
Many S&D lawmaker criticised EPP for their poor choice in allies, including Martina Werner, who accused the party of trying to water the bill down so much in would lose any purpose: “We had to face serious attempts [from the EPP] to water down the EED. Even the Commission acknowledged that their amendments, for example on the annual savings rate, would amount to 0%, for the period 2021-2030. This is not acceptable. »
One week after the vote, Polish MEP Adam Gierek was removed from his position as head energy savings talks for the S&D group. He was indeed under heavy criticism for promoting amendments that were in direct opposition to his own party’s line in several instances – including the latest vote. Gierek admitted after the vote he had eventually voted against a part of his own report – which made it impossible for the party to maintain him as chief negotiator.
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