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EU eyes legally binding energy efficiency

Energy efficiency could become legally binding across the European Union, French environment minister has said.

Jean-Louis Borloo told journalists on Sunday: "But this is very difficult to evaluate, and so we must work out many details before it can be applied.

The plan was aired on the last day of an informal meeting of EU environment and energy ministers in Paris.

Ministers discussed ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions, boost renewable energy use and improve energy efficiency across the 27-nation trading bloc.

Feran Tarradelles Espuny, spokesman for EU energy commissioner Andris Pibalgs, said ministers may render energy efficiency goals legally binding - akin to budget deficit ceilings - to cut energy consumption by a fifth by 2020.

German deputy finance minister Jochen Homann said his country had no problem with the plan on a transnational EU level.

Mr Tarradelles Espuny said ministers also mooted plans to set minimum efficiency standards for a wide range of equipment such as light bulbs, electronic standby devices and street and office lighting equipment.

Mr Pibalgs said energy efficiency was the "best tool" to mitigate the effects of increasing oil prices.

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