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EU sets binding goal for renewables

European Union governments plan to set binding targets for the use of renewable energies such as solar and wind power, overcoming an East-West rift, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said.

The leaders will require 20% of Europe’s energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020, seeking to fight climate change and lessen the EU’s dependence on imported oil and gas. „We have also concluded that we need a target for renewable energy supply and it should be binding, but there will also follow a discussion on what that means for every one of the member states,” Reinfeldt told reporters in Brussels today after the first session of an EU summit.

Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary had led a mostly eastern European group of countries that opposed mandatory targets, saying the costs would be too high. Reinfeldt said the European Commission, the EU’s executive agency, would work out how to spread the burden among the 27 EU countries.

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia remain uncomfortable with the notion of mandatory targets, EU officials said. Still, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the summit host, will propose using the word „binding” in the final communiqué, Reinfeldt said. (Bloomberg)