European Commission president José Manuel Barroso said the E.U. must work harder and take more legislative measures to reduce energy consumption , after several nations failed to realize their energy efficiency goals.
“I am unhappy with the progress made on energy efficiency,” Mr. Barroso said.
In 2007, the commission set out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels and increase energy efficiency by the same amount by 2020.
In a four-year action plan, the bloc intends to transform its internal energy market in a way that encourages energy-efficient infrastructure, products and business processes.
“While on the renewables we are making a lot of progress, and it is now realistic to think that we are going to fulfill our 20 percent target by 2020, this is not the case for our target on energy efficiency,” Mr. Barroso said.
He said the bloc will have to prioritize certain energy and innovation programs, such as concrete measures on energy efficiency, a strong energy policy, an internal energy market and new energy infrastructure.
“We all know that innovation is essential to drive growth and employment. We need this kind of innovation for Europe’s competitiveness,” he said.
Mr. Barroso called on the E.U.’s member nations to bring Europe to the cutting edge of innovation, particularly by completing the European Research Area by 2014, and to stimulate innovation partnerships and using public procurement.
He said governments should improve access to finance and allot money to enhance the market for innovative products.
“This should create a procurement market worth at least 10 billion euros ($13 billion) a year for innovations that improve public services,” he added.
Mr. Barroso said the commission is working with the European Investment Bank to expand financing schemes to increase private sector investments worth 40 times more than European Union’s budget.