The latest estimates by the European Environment Agency (EEA) show that greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.5% last year, despite a rise in GDP and coal consumption.
In the 15 member states covered by the Kyoto Protocol the decrease between 2010 and 2011 was even more at 3.5%.
If the trend continues, in 2011 EU emissions will be 17.5% below 1990 levels and the EU-15 will be 14.1% below the base year level under the Kyoto Protocol.
The sectors not covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) had a fall in emission of around 3.1% which was mainly due to reductions in the domestic and service sectors, with transport emissions falling for the fourth consecutive year.
The EEA put the reductions mainly down to a mild winter, which meant a lower demand for heating from households and a cut in gas consumption, but it was also due to an increase in renewable energy consumption.
Further details of 2011 emission estimates for the region and individual member states will be published in a technical report next month.