Page last updated at 08:50 GMT, Tuesday, 11 September 2012 09:50 UK

MEPs back energy efficiency directive

MEPs have broadly supported a new package of laws designed to improve energy efficiency across the EU.

Under the energy efficiency directive - which has been subject to intense negotiations between the parliament and EU member states - governments would be required to renovate at least 3% of central government buildings every year to make them more environmentally friendly.

Opening the debate on 11 September 2012, the parliament's chief negotiator on the directive, the Luxembourg Green MEP Claude Turmes, said it was an "anti-crisis" directive.

He said that the it would create jobs and stimulate growth in the construction sector

Mr Turmes added that €480bn was spent every year on buying in energy from countries such as Russia, "the largest single transfer of wealth out of the European Union".

The original directive proposed by the Commission called for a mandatory EU-wide target of 20% improvements by 2020.

However when it was debated by EU member states in June, an amendment was inserted to allow each country to set their own energy efficiency target.

Each member state will now have to present a national efficiency action plan every three years, in 2014, 2017 and 2020. The European Commission will have to assess the progress achieved by June 2014.

The draft directive was formally passed by MEPs by 632 votes to 25 during the daily voting session later in the day.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.


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