The European Commission welcomed the parliamentary approval Tuesday of watered-down plans to reduce energy consumption.
BRUSSELS, Belgium The European Commission welcomed the parliamentary approval Tuesday of watered-down plans to reduce energy consumption in private households and the public sector.
The plan asks European Union member states to save a minimum of 9 percent of the energy supplied to end-users over the next nine years.
"We support it a 100 percent," commission spokesman Ferran Tarradellas Espuny said of the vote in the European Parliament.
Originally European lawmakers had backed a mandatory 11.5 percent cut, strengthening a proposal put forward by the commission in 2003 following a series of electricity blackouts in Europe that year. But EU energy ministers reduced the target earlier this year to 6 percent and made it "indicative" rather than binding.
The 9 percent figure is a compromise, reached by the parliament's main groups and the EU governments. It covers electricity, gas, heating oil and transport fuels.
Tarradellas Espuny said the EU executive body did not want mandatory rules that would force it to pursue legal action against governments that fall short of the targets.
EU governments must, however, submit national energy efficiency plans to the European Commission by June 2007 with their three-year intermediate targets.
Reaching an agreement on the so-called energy efficiency and energy services directive has grown in importance as oil prices have skyrocketed lately and Europe struggles to meet targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power plants.
Source: Associated Press