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Leaked: 5 EU countries are trying to delay simpler energy label

On Tuesday 11 October, EU Member States’ delegates will meet with EU Commission and EU Parliament delegates to discuss the roll-out of clearer energy labels that would help consumers save money. It could be the last time they meet (it’s their third so-called informal trialogue) if they reach a final deal on the issue.

Right now, the energy information about appliances is misleading consumers. Over 75% of the consumers polled in Germany who looked for a new washing machine believed that the A+ class is the most energy-efficient one. It is actually the least efficient. See a recent call to the EU Parliament to go back to the A-G label and ditch the A+, A++, A+++ labels.

By when will product groups have to be brought in line with the new label format? Erm… Not before 2023, according to the governments of Italy, Spain, Poland, Slovenia and Czech Republic! They are deliberately blocking legislation that could help consumers save money by shelving any reforms of the current, confusing energy label until 2023 at the earliest.

The Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech and Slovenian governments are resisting this change as they produce a large number of goods graded as A or worse by current energy labels, which would drop to G when a new label is introduced.

A leaked document shows the compromises tabled by the five Member States to delay the introduction of the revamped energy label. Another document shows how they have been incorporated into the final Council position. The five Member States insist new energy labels should be discussed only after a preparatory study has been carried out by the European Commission. Such study could delay the appearance of the simpler energy labels to 2023 at the earliest.

However, the European Parliament proposes to develop new energy labels for problem appliances within the next few months, intending to offer a new label to consumers within 21 months.

If all delegates agree to revise the energy label quickly then EU citizens will save money on their household bills through being able to buy the cheapest-to-run products – which a European Commission report states will strengthen the economy by giving customers more spending power, reward the best manufacturers and create jobs. This decision would be more in line with our Paris Agreement climate commitments too. So: what are EU countries waiting for? Let’s turn words into action!


“Consumers must stop being left in the dark as early as possible. They deserve clear information and transparency about the products they buy and use every day.

The revamped energy label must be rolled out swiftly so consumers can choose the cheapest-to-run washing machine or TV.  If we want to drive consumers to buy less energy-guzzling washing machines or vacuum cleaners and save more money, it is high time we go back to the unambiguous A-G label. It is a win-win for both consumers’ wallets and the environment.

Those Member States are delaying the marketing of cutting edge technology that could save customers money. But they have the power to fix the flaws of the current energy label and enable consumers to save money faster. They should listen to the Parliament’s call for simpler and fairer labels they made over the summer.” BEUC

“The European Council has a fantastic opportunity to turn words into action with the first EU energy regulation after ratifying the Paris climate agreement. Instead it seems hell bent on hampering European citizens’ efforts to buy energy efficient appliances by delaying this reform of misleading and confusing labels.” Coolproducts


You can find the five Member States’ document here and the Presidency’s compromise text here. If this blog is the first place where you saw these documents, then please use the original source when sharing them, that is: this blog. Many thanks!

Background reading



climateconsumersecodesignenergyenergy efficiencyenergy labelenvironmentEU Energy Union

@StollmeyerEU • 10th October 2016

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