In the middle of the night of 19th to 20th June, a final agreement between the Council, the Parliament and the European Commission was reached on the “Governance of the Energy Union” Directive, in the wake of the Renewable Energy (14th June) and Energy Efficiency (19th June) Directives . We are now on the home stretch: just the “electricity market design” piece is missing to put the final touch to the new EU Energy and Climate legal landscape.
What should we take home from this last sequence?
• The Paris Agreement has shifted positions. In October 2014, the European Council approved a 40% GHG reduction target by 2030 , including targets of “at least” 27% for renewables and 27% for energy efficiency. The EU agreement now sets 32% target for renewables and 32.5% target for energy efficiency. And the governance agreement includes a carbon neutrality objective target (net-zero economy) by 2050 with the obligation for the Commission and all the Member States to build long-term strategies towards achieving this aim.
• The post-COP21 period with the withdrawal of the United-States and the emergence of new climate champions is pushing the European Union back, first into the diplomatic, but especially the industrial arena. As the industry needs to reposition itself, the European Union is (finally!) seeing the transition as an opportunity. The dieselgate scandal has also contributed to this realisation by showing the weakness of an economy dependent on fossil and fissile resources.
• The Governance Directive, whose final text has not yet been published, establishes a stakeholder dialogue to define national climate and energy plans and introduces a flexible system for controlling the trajectories of each country. Since it is not binding, I hope the implementation of this directive will encourage public debates focused on trajectories and results that should be transparent; this kind of debates are in fact essential to move into a citizen mobilisation phase.
Growing awareness has therefore succeeded in framing the debate. But what stands out the most to me is the importance of those individuals, men and women, who have each put so much into these negotiations, to the best of their abilities.
A lot of stamina is needed to keep the distance, not be daunted by the magnitude of the issues at stake and on the contrary, to even add new ones to the list. We need to show ambition, have a very clear vision of where we want to be and trust in our own capacity to keep on transforming the European Union in a sustainable, democratic and inclusive way, but above all, we must be able to take on board a wide range of not always converging interests and push them in the same direction.
Claude Turmes, a committed MEP for the last 20 years, masters this art of leadership like no one else. I congratulate all those who have worked relentlessly towards reaching these agreements, which are as a whole favourable to the energy transition, and I wish to express my infinite gratitude to Claude for his dedication and uncompromising stance.
Claude Turmes – Annual conference of Energy Cities – April 2017
©photo: Max Kovalenko
July 2, 2018