MEPs demand more money for clean energy

EU parliament votes for higher budgets for Altener, Save II, programmes

The European Parliament has renewed long-standing calls for the EU to pump more money into energy efficiency and renewable energy support in votes held yesterday in Strasbourg. However, the assembly dropped an equally well-established demand that the EU should aim to improve its energy intensity by at least 1.5 percentage points per year over what would otherwise be achieved, rather than by one percentage point as suggested by the European Commission. The voting marks the Parliament's second reading of Commission proposals for the Save II energy efficiency programme, and the Altener renewable energy programme, each running from 1998-2002. Both draft programmes have become "codecision" procedures after the entry-into-force of the Amsterdam treaty, giving the Parliament more power over their final shape. The main changes sought in the programmes were more money - a budget of euros 68.4m for Save II rather than euros 64m as proposed by the Commission, and euros 81.1m for Altener, which was reduced by EU ministers to euros 74m. Under the Altener programme, MEPs also renewed a call for EU member states to sign a new charter on renewable energies. The proposal rejected by the plenary for a 1.5% energy intensity target was part of the Save II package.

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