25th May 2019

Call to ban inefficient lightbulbs in EU

Germany's environment minister Sigmar Gabriel has written to the European Commission proposing that inefficient light bulbs be banned in the EU.

"Europe can no longer afford products that, like conventional light bulbs, are only five percent efficient," Mr Gabriel wrote in the letter, according to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • More efficient light bulbs could reduce CO2 emissions in the EU by 25 tonnes annually (Photo: European Community, 2006)

"From my viewpoint, ambitious efficiency criteria for lights need to be introduced in this area of regulation."

Addressed to the EU commissioner Stavros Dimas, the letter points to studies that show the EU could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25 million tonnes a year if both households and the services sector exchanged traditional light bulbs for energy saving lights.

Traditional incandescent bulbs produce light by passing electricity through a wire filament, but are inefficient because a large amount of energy is wasted in the form of heat. Fluorescent light bulbs, by contrast, use less energy to produce the same amount of light.

For its part, the European Commission is open to such a suggestion. "We are currently looking into whether an EU standard for environment friendly light bulbs is doable," Mr Dimas told news magazine Focus.

The move comes just days after Australia made headlines around the world by saying it would phase out incandescent light bulbs in favour of energy efficient ones by 2010.

It also represents a happier exchange on green issues between Germany, currently holding the EU presidency, and the European Commission.

Recent months have been blighted by two major spats concerning industry emissions (the commission said Germany's target was too lenient) and proposed EU rules for CO2 emissions from new cars (which saw the German government side with the country's car manufacturers against the commission).

Meanwhile the commission is still hammering home its environment message ahead of an important summit on energy on 8-9 March.

Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told Bild am Sonntag "We have spoken enough, now it is necessary to act."

He said he expects member states to "take clear decisions on the main points of future energy policies because 80 percent of greenhouse gases come from energy."

The EU leaders summit will be an opportunity to "take decisive measures in one of the most important global challenges of our era," he added.

However, diplomats believe the summit is not likely to yield much by way of results with EU member states already bickering heavily about the extent to which they want to commit themselves to binding targets.

Germany has acknowledged that the discussions are going to be difficult but has pledged to act as an honest broker.

"It would be an error if we were to continue to pursue our own interests and we're not going to make that mistake," German chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier this month.

Merkel eyes 'very difficult' talks on energy liberalisation

Germany has admitted that there is likely to be a strong battle over European Commission plans to revamp the EU's energy sector but has pledged to push for concrete results and act as an honest broker during its EU presidency.

EU's old-style lightbulbs to become history

Europe is seeking to get rid of traditional incandescent light bulbs as part of an overall step to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming - the move could reduce the EU's CO2 emissions by 25 million tonnes a year.


Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'

The victory of the Dutch EU commissioner is news across the EU, yet the Netherlands is not allowed to publish the official result until Sunday evening.

EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'

EU leaders praised Theresa May's commitment to deliver an orderly Brexit - while they now brace themselves for an even more eurosceptic British prime minister.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May announces June 7 resignation date
  2. Ireland votes for EU election and divorce referendum
  3. Report: May to announce resignation plan on Friday
  4. Leading politicians: time for EU to have female leaders
  5. Poll: Finland's Green party to surge in EU elections
  6. High demand for postal voting in Denmark
  7. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  8. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal


All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Irish greens take Dublin in second EU exit poll
  2. EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK
  3. Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'
  4. EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'
  5. Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?
  6. Italy train row exposes competing views of EU
  7. Dutch socialists on top in first EP election exit poll
  8. No usage data kept for EU parliament's 'Citizens' App'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us