Strengthening multilevel governance in national energy and climate policies


Local and regional authorities have the potential of becoming a real driving force of the energy transition, helping Europe achieve its goals of climate neutrality and energy independence. What’s more, the EU has clearly designated cities and regions as leaders of Europe’s energy transition, through EU urban initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors and the Mission 100 climate-neutral and smart cities, amongst others. 

However, this is not so clearly reflected on the national level. Not only do national climate and energy policies rarely tap into this potential, but they also offer little support to these transition efforts at the local level. 


These shortcomings have shown through in the first versions of EU Member States’ National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), submitted in 2020 as part of the Energy Union governance process. The European Commission pointed out this discrepancy in the first assessment of the plans. They signalled that the NECPs had not involved local and regional authorities and stakeholders as they should have.

Article 11 of the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action mandates Member States to set up a proper multilevel climate and energy dialogues. For the next version of the NECPs, which are due to be updated, the EU insists that Member States properly implement Article 11.

The updated NECPs are currently being developed: the first draft is due no later than June 2023 and the final one year later, in June 2024. Over this period, the NECPlatform project will contribute to making sure that EU Member States bridge the gap that has been highlighted by the EU Commission’s first assessment of the Plans. 


The NECPlatform project will support six EU Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Italy, Portugal, and Romania) in setting up and managing permanent multi-level Climate and Energy Dialogue (CED) Platforms, as mandated by Article 11. These dialogues will help foster vertical and horizontal integration of energy and climate policies. 

Such platforms will have the form of a roundtable and will meet 6 times each during the implementation of the project. Each platform will bring together representatives from national, sub-national authorities and other relevant stakeholders, such as representatives from civil society, academia, industry, financial sector, NGOs, etc.  Their purpose is to manage, in a collaborative process, the design, implementation and monitoring of climate and energy policies to be make them coherent across levels of governance (e.g. European, national and local) and areas of competence.  These platforms are also meant to ensure national policies are consistent with participants’ capacities and needs to engage in an ambitious and fair ecological transition with common objectives. 

The outmost objective is for these platforms to become a privileged fora to discuss and deliver draft (2023) and final updated NECPs (2024).

In the Spotlight

Read our first Policy Brief to the European Commission.

As Member States are about to submit their first drafts of their revised NECPs, we drafted some recommendations for the European Commission to achieve a better implementation of Article 11 of the Governance Regulation.

Our main recommendations:

  • Reiterate even more strongly a better implementation of Article 11 by Member States in its assessments of the draft and final updated NECPs. 
  • Anticipate the assessments with a written recommendation to Member States stressing the mandatory aspect and benefits of multi-level dialogues, to make the best use of the year between the submission of the draft updated NECP (June 2023) and the final updated NECP (June 2024).
  • Pay as much attention as possible to the quality of the dialogues in its evaluation and distinguish between well-structured and robust processes versus consultations made at the end of the process when the plans are a done deal. 
  • Push Member States to establish such Climate and Energy Dialogues as structured long-term advisory groups not only limited to the development of National Energy Climate Plans, but encompassing all future energy and climate laws and strategies. 

Where do we stand?

Date of publication: 06 March 2024


The project, funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union, is led by Energy Cities and IEECP. National organisations in the 6 Member States will set up and carry out the dialogue platforms in each country:

Bulgaria: Eneffect
Croatia: REGEA
France: Energy Cities
Italy: Coordinamento Agenda 21
Portugal: Zero
Romania: OER – Asociația Orașe Energie în România

Are you interested in implementing Climate and Energy Dialogue Platforms in your country? Get in touch!

Contact our Project Coordinator: Thibaut Maraquin

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