Energy Union & Governance


The Energy Union framework

European leaders endorsed the European Commission’s proposal for an Energy Union with a forward-looking climate policy in 2015, based on “five mutually-reinforcing and closely interrelated dimensions”:

  1. Energy security;
  2. A fully integrated energy market;
  3. Moderating energy demand;
  4. Decarbonising the economy; and
  5. Research & innovation.

The Energy Union also provides a framework for cooperation with countries beyond the EU, particularly in South East Europe.

The Energy Union strategy could set a transformative agenda for the zero-carbon transition by 2050 at the latest. However, the proposals lack a clear and coherent vision for moving away from fossil fuels, putting long term climate targets at risk.

The Energy Union also provides opportunities for improvements in climate and energy governance.

First, it should allow Member States to identify the best ways to ensure that the EU-wide renewable energy and energy efficiency targets for 2030 are being met. It has been proven over and over again that the best way to do so is to set binding national targets.

Second, under current climate and energy policies countries have a huge number of separate planning and reporting obligations. These require streamlining in order to provide a better basis for the transition to a zero carbon economy.


Governance of the Energy Union Regulation

In November 2016 the Commission published a proposal for the Governance of the Energy Union Regulation in its 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' package.

The Governance of the Energy Union Regulation brings together policies on energy efficiency, renewables, and governance of climate and energy targets by requesting that Member States develop National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) and long term low emission strategies.

Putting these conditions in place offers a unique opportunity to increase climate ambition and speed up the energy transition in Europe – if the legislation is done right.


Negotiations: the state of play

Unfortunately the Commission’s legislative proposals for the Governance of the Energy Union Regulation fall far short of expectations. Without national binding targets for renewables and energy efficiency or other adequate measures the regulation lacks the teeth to drive investments in these sectors. The proposals do not properly link short term planning with long term objectives and do not include a robust mechanism to scale up ambition over time.

The Parliament and the Council are currently reviewing the Commission’s proposal and determining the shape of the Directive. The Parliament’s Environment and Energy rapporteurs presented an ambitious and promising report and Parliament is debating its position before a plenary vote in early 2018. Trilogues between the Commission, Council and Parliament may take place in 2018. At the same time Member States are determining their National Energy and Climate Plans under the regulation, with drafts and final plans due in early 2018 and 2019 respectively.

CAN Europe is working to shape the proposal for the Governance Regulation through advocacy work in Brussels and with our network to influence MEPs and decision-makers in Member States. CAN Europe is also supporting its members to get involved in developing EU countries’ National Energy and Climate Plans.


CAN Europe calls for…

We work to ensure a robust Governance framework which will help to ensure the EU meets its Paris Agreement commitments. Our key demands on the Governance of the Energy Union Regulation include:

  • A mechanism to increase ambition in the EU's 2030 policy framework following the UN Climate Summit in 2018 and the submission of the EU's revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement

  • Better alignment of the National Energy and Climate Plans with long term low emission strategies to ensure a fully integrated approach to infrastructure planning

  • Stricter provisions to ensure targets are achieved, preferably by re-introducing binding national targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency

  • Improve the National Energy and Climate Plans’ binding template by including policies and measures for a smart retirement process of polluting power production facilities, to phase-out fuel fossil-fuel subsidies, and clearer references to 2050 climate targets


Learn more

CAN Europe position on the regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union

The Commission proposal contains some positive elements but does not provide incentives for Member states to make appropriately ambitious pledges on renewables and energy efficiency. Read more

Five things you should know about Energy Union Governance

This briefing sets out key elements of the Regulation and how it needs to be strengthened to meet its potential for managing the low carbon transition. Read more

Letter to Energy Ministers on the 'Clean Energy for all Europeans' Package ahead of the Energy Council in February 2017

In relation to the Governance Regulation CAN Europe put forward recommendations on the National Climate and Energy Plans. Read more

Draft Governance report calls radical improvement of climate and energy policies

The rapporteurs in the Parliament’s Environment and Energy Committees made ambitious proposals to reduce carbon emissions to net zero and to shift to a 100% renewable and fully energy efficient economy by 2050 at the latest. Read more

Effort Sharing Decision (non-ETS sectors)

The Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) sets emissions reduction targets for each EU Member States for the sectors not covered under the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme. These non-ETS sectors include nearly 60% of the EU’s emissions and include ground transportation, agriculture, waste and buildings. Read more

Latest Publications

  • Report: Juncker Plan backs billions in fossil fuels and carbon-heavy infrastructure

    The European Union is set to continue a funding tool that in last two years has lent billions of euros for fossil fuels projects, finds a new study from CEE Bankwatch Network, CAN Europe, Counter Balance and WWF European Policy Office.
  • Joint NGO statement on the ETS revision

    Being serious about the Paris Agreement:Stop the ETS funding coal, Start a meaningful carbon price This Agreement [...] aims to [...] making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. Paris Agreement, Article 2(1)c We, the undersigned, urgently appeal to Representatives of European Parliament, Council and the European Commission to ensure that European power and industry are put on the right track to rapidly and cost-effectively reduce their carbon emissions. The European Union was instrumental in designing the Paris Agreement. Now it must implement it. On 8th November, the aforementioned decision-makers will discuss final changes to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) for the post-2020 period. It is vital that these changes enable the ETS to help deliver the Paris commitments. The recently published UNEP report underlines the urgency to act now in order to ensure that the 1.5°C target remains attainable [1]. One important discussion topic will be the design of the ETS funds. It is crucial that ETS funds stop subsidizing coal plants. We are glad to see that the European Parliament as well as seven Member States [2] have called for ending this misuse of funds. To reach the “well below two degrees” goal agreed at Paris, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) modelling shows that unabated coal in Europe must fall to zero by 2030: This means that the ETS must no longer fund this obsolete and polluting technology and needs to accelerate a socially just transition instead. The second crucial topic is how to ensure a meaningful carbon price that drives decarbonisation throughout the 2020s and beyond. This can only happen if the cap on the ETS emissions continues to tighten in line with the Paris climate goals, and is adjusted downwards to account for progress. Without this change, the EU carbon market will remain on an inadequate decarbonisation trajectory and risks another decade of irrelevance, leaving the EU lagging behind on green growth and innovation. Fundamentally, the EU ETS must ensure a meaningful carbon price in line with the Paris climate goals, while at the same time stop subsidizing high-carbon intensity technologies such as coal. We count on your support. Kind regards, Carbon Market WatchCEE Bankwatch NetworkCenter for Transport and EnergyChange PartnershipClimate Action Network (CAN) EuropeEfdeN RomaniaInternational Young NaturefriendsSandbagWWF EPOYoung European Federalists11.11.11 Notes: [1] Under current trends, it is expected that in 2030 global efforts to remain on a 1.5°C pathway are 16 to 19 GtCO2 off track. UNEP (2017). The Emissions Gap Report 2017. Available here. [2] Non-paper by Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK Joint NGO statement on the ETS revision
  • Letter to Ambassadors on Governance ahead of COREPER meeting on 27 October

    This letter was sent ahead of the COREPER meeting on the 27th of October 2017 Dear Ambassador, During the meeting of COREPER on 27 October you will have the opportunity to provide political guidance on several elements of the Governance regulation, mainly on defining a framework to ensure the delivery of the renewable energy target (Articles 4, 5, 25, 27). The Governance regulation is a key building block of a successful Energy Union, and the nest for many requirements set out in the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  • Briefing on Aligning the EIB Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) with the Paris Agreement

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) is being reviewing its Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) in 2017. Its EPS is part of the EIB Energy Lending Criteria1 adopted in July 2013, and set at a level of 550 g CO2/kWh.
See All: Climate & Energy Targets