Legislators water down EU buildings directive after marathon talks

(EurActiv, 16 Oct 2023) Lawmakers made headway during a marathon negotiating session on Friday (13 October) to overhaul the EU’s buildings directive, but progress came at the cost of the proposal’s core mechanism to introduce mandatory renovation benchmarks.

To tackle the EU’s leaky building stock, the European Commission revamped the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) in late 2021.

At the core of the proposal are Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), which set an obligation to renovate the 15% worst-performing buildings in each EU country, a move meant to target the poorest households, which cannot afford to renovate and are the most exposed to energy poverty.

However, the MEPS proposal quickly proved controversial in countries like Italy, which said the directive would devastate homeowners by forcing them to renovate. 

Their fate was decided on Friday after a10-hour negotiating session between representatives of the European Parliament and EU member states, held behind closed doors, which concluded at 4:30 am.

According to information obtained by Euractiv, headway in the negotiations came at the cost of mandatory renovations, which have been abolished. Instead, the buildings directive will set out benchmark averages for each EU country, which will be empowered to set out their renovation trajectories.

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EurActiv, 16 Oct 2023: Legislators water down EU buildings directive after marathon talks