In its latest report on the state of renewable energies in Europe, consortium EurObserv’ER has found that the various renewable energies taken together covered 14 per cent of gross energy consumption in the EU in 2012. This is a 1.1 per cent increase from the previous year, which means that the EU has closed in on its current renewables target of 20 per cent by 2020.

On Friday 8th February, European heads of state and government reached a deal on the EU budget for the period 2014-20. The total budget of €960bn (€908bn in actual payment obligations) represents a 3% reduction from the last 7 year deal and is the first time in EU’s history there has been a real-term cut in budget.

A recent study titled “The Economic benefits of the Natura 2000 Network” has concluded that the Natura 2000 network, an EU wide network of nature protection areas, is worth €300bn a year, the equivalent of 2-3% of EU GDP. This is far over the €6bn per year member states have to spend on maintaining and restoring it, helping strengthen the case for continued or increased funding of nature protection.

The Renewables Energy Directive had established mandatory targets of achieving a 20% share of renewable energy including a 10% share of energy from renewable in transport by 2020. While as a whole, the 2010 renewable energy share for at least 20 member states in the EU was level or above their 2010 commitment, a European Commission analysis has found that all but Sweden, Austria and Estonia will not reach their renewable energy targets by 2020 unless new initiatives are put in place.