Tory and UKIP MEPs vote down plans for affordable energy

Labour say the report would have helped thousands of people out of energy poverty

 

Tory and UKIP MEPs joined forces yesterday to vote down proposals for an EU energy strategy which sought to address energy security and access to affordable energy.

The report, which was voted down by a margin of 39 votes, supported 2030 climate and energy targets of a minimum 40 per cent reduction in C02 emissions.

It emphasised that energy must be made affordable for all EU citizens in a bid to tackle the growing problem of energy poverty.

Labour MEPs had pushed to include binding targets on energy efficiency and renewable energy within the strategy.

Theresa Griffin MEP, Labour’s European spokesperson on energy, said:

“The Conservatives and UKIP seem to have forgotten that on Monday the G7 leaders agreed to cut greenhouse gases by phasing out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century.

“It is paramount this objective is intertwined with our work on energy and energy security and that we support this as a parliament.

“Our actions and our policies need to be guided by three major responsibilities: affordability, security and sustainability.

“I am extremely disappointed this report, that would have helped thousands of people across the Europe out of energy poverty, was not passed.

“The EU currently imports more than half of all the energy it consumes at a cost of more than €1 billion per day – this cannot go on.”

However, the Green Party also voted down the report, due to an inserted amendment supporting the use of public funds for nuclear energy.

There was a small Brussels victory for the Greens when a majority of MEPs voted to pass an amendment included in the report calling for a moratorium on fracking.

Passed by 338 votes to 319, the amendment called for a halt on the authorisation of new shale exploration and drills ‘until this is proven to be safe for the environment, citizens and workers’.

Because the report was not adopted the vote will have no practical effect, however anti-shale campaigners hope that it will push the issue of fracking to the forefront of the agenda and may allow for a more consequential vote on the issue.

Geert de Cock, the director of the environmental group Food and Water Europe, said that the vote showed a significant shift in attitudes:

“We consider this vote a milestone for the European anti-fracking movement and a clear indicator that the public acceptance for this industry is crumbling across the EU.”

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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