EU Agrees to Better Energy Efficiency Green Deal Rules

BRUSSELS (AP) -- European Union member countries and negotiators from the EU Parliament have agreed on a provisional deal aimed at reducing energy consumption across the 27-nation bloc.

Under the agreement, EU countries must achieve the goal collectively to ensure a reduction of consumption of at least 11.7% compared with the forecasts for 2030 that were made three years ago.

The deal, which is part of the EU's plans to become climate neutral by 2050, must be formally adopted by the Parliament and the Council -- which brings together government ministers from each member state -- to enter into force.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, welcomed the provisional agreement, which also includes measures to tackle energy poverty. The agreed rules should also ensure that EU countries promote local heating and cooling plans in cities with more than 45,000 inhabitants.

"Saving energy is a key step to saving the planet," said Frans Timmermans, the executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal. "In recent months, Europeans have shown that they are ready and able to face this challenge, and our industry has proven that it can optimize its energy use and production processes."