Energy Union

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



Caroline Westblom
EU Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator
+32 2894 4674


Jean-François Fauconnier
Renewables Policy Coordinator
Jean.Francois /at/
+32 2894 4672


Theodora Petroula
Energy Savings Policy Coordinator
+32 2894 4671

Latest Publications Energy Union & Governance

  • MEPs call for more ambition in future clean energy laws

    Today the European Parliament adopted its position on three legislative proposals under the Clean Energy Package, namely the revisions of the Renewable Energy Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive, and the new Governance Regulation, which will guide the EU’s zero-carbon transition in the coming decade and beyond. MEPs raised the ambition of the future clean energy laws, by voting in favour of increasing the EU’s 2030 renewable energy and energy efficiency targets to at least 35 percent and raising its long-term target to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.
  • EU governments’ positions would stifle renewable energy revolution

    Today EU Energy Ministers have adopted their positions on four legislative proposals under the Clean Energy Package, which will guide the EU’s energy transition in the coming decade and beyond. Turning their backs on the Paris Agreement, the ministers opted for a feeble renewable energy target, lax rules for ensuring that all EU countries contribute to the energy transition and massive coal subsidies in the EU’s power market.
  • CAN Europe letter ahead of the Energy Council on 18 December

    For Energy Council on 18 December Brussels, 13 December 2017 Dear Minister, Ahead of Energy Council on Monday 18 December, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe would like to call on you to adopt an ambitious position on the Market Design Initiative, the Renewable Energy Directive, and the Governance of the Energy Union Regulation.
  • EU governments at a crossroads - clean or dirty energy?

    On 18 December, EU Energy Ministers are expected to reach an agreement on four legislative files under the Clean Energy Package, namely those regarding renewable energy, governance and the internal market for electricity. Worryingly, the draft documents for the meeting show that they are stubbornly insisting on an outdated, blatantly unambitious position on the renewable energy target and weak rules for helping countries make energy transition. They are also about to allow massive coal subsidies in the EU power market.
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