The European Parliament will debate and subsequently vote on the Energy Efficiency Directive on 11 and 12 September 2012.
If the Council agrees with the outcome of Parliament's first reading, then the legislative text will be adopted and will come into force once it is published in the Official Journal.
If an agreement between the two institutions is not reached, the proposal will then be sent for a second Parliamentary reading. After two further readings, il an agreement has still not been reached, the proposal will be brought before a Conciliation Committee made up of an equal number of representatives of the Council and Parliament.
When the Committee has reached agreement, the text agreed upon will be sent to Parliament and the Council for a third and final reading, prior to adoption.
Once the Directive comes into force. Member States (in the UK, the Department of Energy and Climate Change) will then have until 1 January 2014 to transpose the Directive into national law. The Directive's aim is to set binding energy efficiency targets to reduce dependency on imports for oil and gas into the EU.
These imports accounted for 3.9 per cent of the EU's GDP in 2011 (€488bn). This is the first time that binding targets have been agreed among the Member States, although it is believed that agreement was only reached after the original proposal had been watered down.
The Directive's introduction is primarily driven by the target set in the 20:20:20 agreement. This was to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent (of 1990 levels) by 2020. If the current trajectory were to remain, this target would not be met by half. The Directive proposes to meet this shortfall by delivering the remaining 151.5 million tons of oil as equivalent savings. This will also fill the gaps left by the Energy Savings Directive and the Cogenera-tion Directive, both of which will be repealed when the Energy Efficiency Directive comes into force. The Directive is very ambitious in nature, and seeks to set out a common framework for reducing energy consumption in the EU beyond 2020.