Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on Thursday called for intensified efforts to save energy to ease the burden on the country's economy. "Energy efficiency and energy conservation becomes a strategic line of development of economy and social sphere," Azarov said while opening a government meeting. Ukraine loses from 15 to 17 billion U.S. dollars annually due to inefficient energy consumption, Azarov said. Azarov called for more efforts to brisk up state and private support for energy efficiency projects in all sectors, particularly in metallurgy and chemical industry. Currently energy efficiency is one of the key priorities of Ukraine' s policy, as the amount of energy used for each unit of goods and services produced is still nearly 3 times higher than the European Union average.