European Union


Europe is facing rising energy demand, volatile prices, and disruptions to supply. We also need to reduce the environmental impact of the energy sector.

To tackle these problems, we need a clear EU energy strategy.

So EU energy policy has 3 main goals:

Energy Union

The Commission has launched plans for a European Energy Union. This will ensure secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy for EU citizens and businesses.

Energy will flow freely across national borders in the EU. New technologies, energy efficiency measures and renewed infrastructure will help cut household bills, create new jobs and skills and boost growth and exports.

Europe will become a sustainable, low-carbon and environmentally-friendly economy. It will lead the way in renewable energy production and the fight against global warming.

Energy Union will also help Europe speak with a single voice on global energy matters.

Energy Union builds on existing EU energy policy, including the 2030 Energy and Climate Framework and the Energy Security Strategy.

EU energy targets

The EU has set itself energy and climate targets for 2020, 2030 and 2050.

Targets for 2020:

  • Reducing greenhouse gases by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels
  • 20% of energy from renewable sources
  • 20% energy efficiency improvement

Targets for 2030:

  • 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • At least 27% EU energy from renewables
  • Increase energy efficiency by 27-30%
  • 15% electricity interconnection (i.e. 15% of electricity generated in the EU can be transported to other EU countries)

Target for 2050:

An 80-95% cut in greenhouse gases compared with 1990 levels. The Energy Roadmap 2050 shows how we could do this.

How are we doing so far?

The EU is well on track to meet the 2020 targets:

  • Greenhouse gases reduced by 18% between 1990–2012
  • Renewables share reached 14.1% in 2012, up from 8.5% in 2005
  • Energy efficiency expected to improve by 18–19% by 2020. This is just short of the 20% target. But we can meet the target if member countries enact all the necessary EU laws.

Find out more about EU energy policy.


Manuscript updated in November 2014

This publication is part of the 'European Union explained' series

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