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  4. Centre for European Reform: EU should follow Danes on CHP and energy efficiency

Centre for European Reform: EU should follow Danes on CHP and energy efficiency

12 Apr 2012

Denmark uses energy more efficiently than any other EU member-state. Successive governments have implemented ambitious and consistent policies on energy efficiency since the oil shocks of the 1970s. As a result, Denmark today only uses 60 per cent of the energy per unit of GDP of the EU average. Thus it was no surprise when in January the new Danish presidency of the EU’s Council of Ministers identified a draft ‘energy efficiency directive’ as one of its priorities for its six-month term. But Copenhagen’s efforts look unlikely to lead to agreement before the end of June, when the Danish presidency ends. Several member-states, including Germany and France, are trying to weaken key aspects of the draft directive. The Danish government’s desire to oversee agreement on the ‘energy efficiency directive’ is understandable. But a ‘lowest common denominator’ agreement would be worth little. It would be better for Copenhagen to stick to most of the Commission’s proposals, and remind its partners that in the long run these reforms would save them billions of euros. Where necessary, Denmark could point to its own experience to underline the point.