In a vote on 5 February the European Parliament set its face against the Commission's controversial proposal to drop binding renewable energy and energy efficiency targets to be met by 2030 by EU states.

In a vote on 5 February the European Parliament set its face against the Commission’s controversial proposal to drop binding renewable energy and energy efficiency targets to be met by 2030 by EU states.

This follows the European Commission announcement last month that its 2030 energy plan proposed a binding renewable energy target only at a pan European level, rather than targets at national level.

Although, the Parliament’s vote isn’t binding, it sends a strong signal to EU governments ahead of ministerial meetings early next month and a Heads of Government summit which follows, where the EU 2030 climate and energy targets will be hotly debated.

In a plenary session MEPs voted in favour of ambitious climate and energy policy by supporting three binding 2030 targets for renewables, greenhouse gas reductions and energy efficiency.

"The European Parliament has again shown it is the most forward-thinking of the institutions. It has resisted lobbying from backward-looking organisations and voted on the basis of facts, namely that an ambitious renewables target can provide 570 000 more jobs, Euros 500 billion in fossil fuel import savings, and lower energy costs for energy intensive industries", said Stephane Bourgeois from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

"This enlightened result is a kick in the teeth for the European Commission and its bloodless 2030 proposal published last month", he continued. "Heads of state must pay heed to the MEPs and agree an ambitious mandate including a renewables target of at least 30% binding at national level in March."

The vote also produced an immediate reaction from Greenpeace, which called on EU governments to approve a set of three binding and ambitious 2030 climate and energy targets in advance of a leaders’ summit hosted by UN secretary-general Ban-Ki Moon in September 2014. Greenpeace supports a minimum 55 % cut in domestic carbon emissions, an increase to a 45 % share of renewable energy and 40 percent energy savings. It believes that Europe needs needs a strong and growing market for the key technologies and their supply chains, which implies binding targets for renewables and efficiency, and a scale of ambition on emissions reductions that keeps climate change within safe limits.