Energy policy

Page Last modified 11 May 2020
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This page was archived on 21 Mar 2015 with reason: Content is outdated

The issue

Generating and using energy imposes various negative pressures on the environment. For example, the energy sector accounts for roughly four fifths of total EU greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing energy consumption since 1990 has largely offset the benefits of improved energy efficiency and a growing renewable energy sector. European energy policy sets clear targets for sustainable energy. In March 2007 European leaders agreed that by 2020 renewable energy should account for 20 % of the energy mix and that primary energy consumption should be cut by 20 % through increased energy efficiency. Meeting these targets could save money, increasing Europe's competitiveness in global markets.

Review process

Under the EU 2020 Strategy's 'resource efficient Europe' flagship initiative, the European Commission proposes to 'increase the use of renewable energy sources' and 'promote energy efficiency', and states that 'we should aim to decouple growth from energy use and become a more resource-efficient economy.' It will 'work on a plan defining the key actions necessary to achieve the energy saving potential of 20 % in the building and transport sectors' (Commission Work Programme 2010). Moreover, the development of renewable energies might have environmental impacts (e.g. bioenergy, hydropower, off shore wind parks). Regular reporting processes (every two years from 2012) are also built into the Directive on the use of energy from renewable sources regarding the implementation of sustainability criteria, food price impacts and respect of international obligations linked to EU biofuels targets.

Links to SOER 2010 and other EEA products

Global megatrends


Thematic assessments

Other EEA products

  • Health
  • Ch. 3: Nature and biodiversity
  • Biodiversity
  • Ch. 5: Environment and health


  • Global power shifts
  • Soil


  • Marine and coastal environment






  • Water resources: quantity and flows


  • Global regulation and governance


  • Freshwater quality








Note: Above cells with hyperlinks lead to specific SOER 2010 information and other EEA products that are relevant to the policy area on this page.


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