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In this Debate we will discuss which measures should be used and which mechanisms should be harnessed to pursue the “energy efficiency-first” approach, which is at the core of a more circular economy system, one of the pillars of the EU decarbonisation strategy.

This issue is particularly critical given that, since 2014, the trend in energy consumption in Europe has been pointing towards the EU not meeting its 2020 energy efficiency targets, for both primary and final energy consumption. In 2018 primary and final energy consumption were still 5.8% and 3.5%, respectively, above the 2020 targets. The COVID crisis significantly hampered the economy and decreased energy consumption in 2020. However, unless the European economy will become more energy-efficient, the subsequent recovery will lead to a rebound in energy consumption.

The fact that the EU seems to be unable sufficiently to promote energy efficiency appears all the more surprising considering that already in 2005 the Commission, in its Green Paper on Energy Efficiency or Doing More with Less1, was able to refer to “numerous studies” according to which “the EU could save at least 20% of its present energy consumption in a cost-effective manner”,

The 2018 Energy Efficiency Directive2 established a headline EU energy efficiency target for 2030 of at least 32.5% (compared to projections of the expected energy use in 2030), with a clause for a possible upwards revision by 2023. In fact, it is likely that the target will be increased sooner in line with the Green Deal strategy.


In this context, the Debate will aim at discussing:

  • which have been the barriers which prevented the EU from reaching its 2020 energy efficiency target, despite the promising outlook back in 2005; and
  • how these barriers could be tackled to achieve the more ambitious 2030 target.


Draft Programme

14.00 – 14.05 Introduction to the Debate

Alberto Pototschnig | Florence School of Regulation

14.05 – 14.15 The “energy efficiency-first” approach in the Green Deal

Claudia Canevari | European Commission, DG Energy

14.15 – 14.25 Energy efficiency in the National Energy and Climate Plans

Golnoush Soroush | Florence School of Regulation

Lessons learnt from auditing EU-funded energy efficiency projects in buildings

14.25 – 14.35

Lorenzo Pirelli | European University Institute


Moderator: Alberto Pototschnig: Florence School of Regulation

14.35 – 14.55 Introductory remarks from the panellists

Sabine Löbbe | Reutlingen Energy Center

Zsuzsanna Pató | Regulatory Assistance Project

Giuseppe Velluto | Gianni Origoni

14.55 – 15.00   Polls

15.00 – 15.20   Comments on the outcome of the poll and Q&A from the audience

15.20 – 15.30   Concluding remarks

Alberto Pototschnig | Florence School of Regulation
Leigh Hancher | Florence School of Regulation and Tilburg University



The focus of the debate series is on recent court cases, regulatory decisions, EU legislation, or public consultations to be discussed by a panel of experts. Learn more about the FSR series.

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Chiara Canestrini


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Leigh Hancher
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Alberto Pototschnig

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