French Presidency hides behind Italy and stalls EU renewables deal

Press release - December 4, 2008
Brussels, Belgium — Last night, France and Italy stalled negotiations – over what looked like a done deal to boost the uptake of renewables across the EU – by demanding a review in 2014 of some of the core principles of the new law, Greenpeace said following a long night of tough negotiations in Brussels.

"The EU is close to a landmark deal to boost renewable energy, but Italy's insistence on a review of some off the core principles of the law could rob Europe of a clean energy future," said Frauke Thies, Greenpeace EU renewables policy campaigner. "Such a review would create uncertainty for investors and threaten the creation of millions of green jobs across Europe."

The majority of member states and the European Parliament have rejected the call for a review, but the French EU Presidency has defended the Italian position.

"By supporting the Italian minority position in the negotiations, the French EU Presidency is once again demonstrating that it is incapable of leading climate talks to positive outcomes," said Thies.

EU politicians have nonetheless reached an agreement on most other elements of the renewables legislation, including binding national targets in each member state that will make up the EU's 20% renewable energy target by 2020. The new law is also expected to foresee new or improved support policies for renewable energy in electricity, heating and cooling, and transport. It will give member states the option to cooperate to achieve their targets and will also include provisions to streamline administrative procedures and ease the access to energy networks for renewables.

The target for 10% renewable energy in the transport sector has been weakened, but will still require a large share of unsustainable biofuels.

"EU politicians are insisting on the large-scale promotion of biofuels with little concern for the climate or rising food prices. They are still not protecting the planet from the ravages that can be caused by unsustainable biofuels."

Other contacts:

Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications manager: +32 (0)2 2741 903, +32 (0)496 15 62 29 (mob.),

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