Press Release

EU Energy Union good on vision but deeply confused on delivery

European flag in karlskrona 2011, Wikimedia
Photo European flag, Wikimedia

In response to the Commission announcements on the Energy Union and Paris Protocol, E3G Chief Executive Nick Mabey said,

The EU’s announcements are good on vision but deeply confused on delivery priorities. The Energy Union has put Europe’s domestic transition to a zero carbon economy front and centre, but perversely this ambition is not reflected in its international strategy. To get the best value from its own low carbon transition, Europe must have a clear plan to drive radical change at the global level.

Jonathan Gaventa E3G Associate Director said, 

The Energy Union paper sets out a strong vision for Europe’s energy transition to a low-carbon economy, through an active role for citizens, an integrated EU-wide energy market, and by moving away from dependence on fossil fuels and outdated business models. This vision is the right one for safeguarding Europe’s energy and climate security.

But you can’t move an economy off of fossil fuels by spending more EU money on gas import pipelines and LNG terminals. EU gas demand has fallen by 14% since 2005 and will continue to fall as Europe continues to deliver on energy efficiency. There is a serious risk that this new infrastructure will become expensive stranded assets.

E3G Associate Director Ingrid Holmes said,

The new principle of requiring that demand side response and efficiency are able to compete on equal terms with generation capacity is a radical and very welcome shift. It is important that the Commission now moves forward to put substance behind these principles. 

Having a credible story to tell on how scale demand side investment opportunities will be created at scale is a must have if we are to make the most of the opportunities to access capital for demand side investments through the Investment Plan and the Capital Markets Union. Without it Europe risks delivering an Energy Union that is high risk for investors and poor value for consumers. 

The Paris Protocol communication reflects the European Commission’s guidance to member states on European contributions to COP21.

Liz Gallagher, E3G climate diplomacy programme leader said,

The Commission's contribution to the INDC is an important milestone, but only the opening gambit for Paris.  There is a deal to be done in Paris, and Europe will need to work with others to go beyond their current levels of ambition. European leaders have committed to avoid dangerous climate change, and so this isn’t the final word on the matter.

The Energy Union proposal also launched today demonstrates that Europe’s transition to decarbonisation is irreversible.  However, the road to Paris plan by the Commission doesn’t reflect radical shift Europe is planning at home. The Commission is missing a great opportunity to do more.


Nick Mabey, CEO, [email protected]

On Energy Union: Jonathan Gaventa, Associate Director, [email protected]

On energy efficiency and investment: Ingrid Holmes, Associate Director, [email protected] 

On Climate Diplomacy: Liz Gallagher, Programme Leader, [email protected]

Notes to Editors

1. Today the European Commission announced its energy union framework strategy (with action plan for the next 3 years), plan for achieving the 2020 10% interconnection target (with annex) and communication on the Paris Protocol

2. Today’s communication on the ‘Paris Protocol’ is the European Commissions’ contribution to the formal translation of Europe’s INDC to the Paris agreement.  This is not the final INDC but is likely to inform the outline for Europe’s INDC which will be finalised on 6th March by what is known as the Environment Council (a body made up of climate and environment ministers from the 28 EU member states).

3. E3G is an independent, non-profit European organisation operating in the public interest to accelerate the global transition to sustainable development. E3G builds cross-sectoral coalitions to achieve carefully defined outcomes, chosen for their capacity to leverage change. E3G works closely with like-minded partners in government, politics, business, civil society, science, the media, public interest foundations and elsewhere.


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