How are the targets of the EED defined and related?

The Energy Efficiency Directive[1] (EED) is driven by three main cross sectoral targets: (1) the EU energy savings target (32.5% by 2030), (2) the indicative national efficiency targets, and (3) the national binding targets for end-use savings.

They relate to each other as follows:

EU energy efficiency target (Art. 1)

The Directive establishes a common framework of measures to promote energy efficiency in order to ensure that the EU 2030 headline target on energy efficiency of at least 32.5% is met and paves the way for further energy efficiency improvements beyond these dates. A “headline” target is a non-binding, indicative goal. The target, to be achieved collectively across the EU, is set relative to the 2007 modelling projections for 2030.[2] In absolute terms (stipulated in Article 3.5 of the Directive) this means that EU energy consumption should be no more than 1,273 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) of primary energy and/or[3] no more than 956 Mtoe of final energy. This means that primary energy consumption in the Union should be reduced by 26 % and/or final energy consumption should be reduced by 20 % compared to the 2005 levels. The directive allows for a revision of the target in 2023 to increase its ambition taking into account the falling costs of technologies and the imperative of the Paris agreement climate objective.

Indicative national energy efficiency targets (Art. 3)

Each Member State shall set indicative national energy efficiency contributions towards the EU’s 2030 headline target. For determining the indicative national energy efficiency targets, Member States must make a proportional contribution to the overall headline EU 2030 target. National circumstances affecting primary or final energy consumtipion may be considered in the calculations by Member States, such as remaining cost-effective energy-saving potential, the evolution and forecast of the gross domestic product, changes of energy imports and exports, changes in the energy mix; and early actions to improve energy efficiency. These national energy efficiency contributions have to be notified to the European Commission as part of the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP).

The first draft of the NECP had to be submitted by Member States before 31 December 2018. They will have to submit the final plans by the end of 2019 upon feedback of the European Commission, who can require Member States to adapt their national targets[4].

Next to the requirement for setting national targets for 2030, the Directive states that the European Commission must evaluate the extent to which the 2020 target has been met (in 2022) and the extent to which the 2030 target will potentially have to be adjusted (in 2023). The evaluation of the 2020 target will be based on the Member States’ annual monitoring reporting that includes the energy savings achieved.

Binding national end-use energy savings target (Art. 7)

Member States have to achieve from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2030 new cumulative annual end-use energy savings of 0.8% of the annual final energy consumption, averaged over the recent three-year period 2016 to 2018. These savings can be achieved either by establishing or continuing an energy efficiency obligation scheme or by adopting alternative policy measures (e.g. support schemes, voluntary agreements, advice programmes).

The binding national energy savings target of Art. 7 can cover a significant percentage of the savings that the indicative national energy efficiency target of Art. 3 must deliver. But consequently, Member States need additional measures provided from the EED, other EU Directives (e.g. EBPD, Eco-design, Energy Labelling) or further national measures to ensure that the gap between the indicative national energy efficiency target and the binding national savings target is closed.

Summarising table:






Energy efficiency headline target (32.5%)

Consumption target (max. annual primary or final energy consumption consumed)

Savings target (primary or final energy saved)


EU: To be achieved collectively

Member States: Contribution per MS towards the overall consumption target

Member States:
Assessment of energy savings from energy savings obligation scheme or alternative measures

Legal nature






Top-down, scenario-based, planning

Bottom-up, based on energy savings calculations per measure



[1] Directive (EU) 2018/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (

[2] E3MLab (2008). 2030 European Energy and Transport Trends. Trends to 2030- update 2007 (PRIMES 2007). Online available:

[3] In its initial proposal, the European Commission used a noted targets to be met in both primary and final energy consumption, a wording backed by the European Parliament but that didn’t survive the negotiations with the Council. The impact of the “and/or” formulation merits a chapter in its own right, but a good first analysis can be found in this article by Euractiv:

[4] For an overview, visit: