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24th Sep 2020

EU-wide energy consumption at 1990s level

  • The dependency on imports for energy varies greatly in the EU (Photo: European Community, 2006)

The downward trend of domestic energy consumption in the European Union has continued in 2013, and is now back at the same level of 1990, according to data released by the union's statistical agency Eurostat on Monday (9 February).

In 2013, EU-wide energy consumption was at 91 percent of the level in 2006.

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Since energy sources vary across and within countries, Eurostat measures energy consumption in a figure that provides the equivalent of a million tonnes of oil, or mtoe. In 2013, the EU consumed 1,666 mtoe.

That brings the bloc back to the energy consumption level of 1990.

The figures also reaffirmed the Union's dependency for its energy on imports. In 2013, it produced only 47 percent of its energy itself.

EU commissioners Maros Sefcovic (Energy union) and Miguel Arias Canete (Climate action and energy) met representatives from energy ministries from south-eastern EU states in the Bulgarian capital Sofia to discuss how to diversify their energy sources.

According to a spokesperson, the commissioners proposed that each country in the south-eastern European region should have “at least three sources of gas”.

The dependency on imports for energy varies greatly in the EU, with some members like Estonia importing as little as 11.9 percent of its energy, but others like island-nations Cyprus and Malta being energy islands as well.

The return of energy consumption to early 1990s levels is also not the result of a uniform decrease.

A majority of EU member states (16 of 28) used more energy in 2013 than in 1990.

France consumes 14 percent more energy than in 1990, the Netherlands 22 percent more, and Austria, Ireland, and Cyprus have added over a third of their consumption level.

At the other hand of the spectrum the Baltic states, Romania, and Bulgaria, are using between 42 and 67 percent of the energy they used in 1990.

The EU's largest state, Germany, used 324.3 mtoe in 2013, down from 356.3 mtoe in 1990.

Germany, France and the UK together consume almost half of the EU's energy.

In October 2014, EU government leaders decided that by 2030, countries should use their energy more efficiently, although they only managed to agree to an “indicative” (non-binding) target of 27 percent.

The reduction in energy consumption since 2006 is connected to the reduced economic activity in the EU.

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