Yesterday, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the energy and environment committees approved a report on the proposed governance of the Energy Union, including a provision that would require Member States to directly involve cities in national energy planning.
For the record, the proposed regulation on the governance of the Energy Union, which the European Commission published in November of last year, was essentially meant to ensure the EU as a whole is on track to achieve its energy and climate commitments, especially in the absence of binding targets for 2030.
Despite its name, the proposed regulation included no provision on actual “governance” and cooperation with local and regional authorities or civil society. It instead essentially sought to create a control and reporting instrument between the EU and its Member States on the development of national energy and climate plans.
To fill this gap, Energy Cities exchanged extensively with MEP Claude Turmes, in charge of the European Parliament report, leading to the crucial amendment 14 which requires Member States to establish genuine and permanent dialogues on national energy plans with local authorities and citizens. Now that this crucial amendment was adopted as part of the committee votes, the next milestone will be the European Parliament plenary session in January of next year.
Additionally, as part of the same report MEPs also voted in favour of the EU committing to a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050 at the latest, ensuring compatibility with the Paris agreement. The report also enshrines the notion of ‘carbon budget’ for the first time in the EU law.
To ensure steady progress between 2020 and 2030, MEPs also endorsed the principle that Member States should be required to follow a linear trajectory for the progressive deployment of renewables and energy efficiency over the course of the decade, contrary to the current position advocated by the Estonian presidency, in favour of granting maximum flexibility to Member States.
Last but not least, the report also includes strong obligations on Member States to address the issue of energy poverty.
Next milestone in the policy calendar will be December 18th, with EU ministers set to adopt their final position on the regulation as part of the Energy Council meeting.