The Council called on the European Commission to present initiatives on the governance of European climate and energy policies after 2020 before the end of the year. It is a unique opportunity to improve the current policy framework, provided that European institutions are ambitious enough to take up the challenge.
Over the last twelve months, the European Commission and Member States presented their vision of European energy and climate policies after 2020. Heads of States and Governments found a compromise position regarding greenhouse gases reduction, share of renewable energy in the energy mix and energy efficiency improvements that shall be reached in 2030.
These targets are only included in European Council’s conclusions at the moment and are therefore not definitive: the European co-legislators have not had yet the opportunity to make the targets into law. This should happen in the coming months with the revision of existing directives. The European Commission enlarged common actions and presented its vision of an Energy Union without expiration date. These new elements of the policy framework represent a challenge for policy-makers: the 2030 energy targets will not be nationally binding while the Energy Union is rightly ambitious, but is lacking of substantive plans to deliver the vision.
How can Europe ensure investor’s certainty through a better integrated and more streamlined governance while fulfilling the European Council’s mandate to establish a credible and reliable post-2020 governance regime that builds on the building blocks of existing governance? This is precisely the question the Commission is now trying to address by discussing the governance of European climate and energy policies after 2020.
At the very least, getting the governance right means committing to more robust governance of the Internal Energy Market, adopting sufficiently ambitious 2030 targets, establishing binding planning and reporting regimes to ensure the delivery of the target trajectories and to improve investor certainty while allowing for course corrections. In the current situation, the Energy Union framework indicates the existence of a strong commitment to strengthening the already binding Internal Energy Market framework through rigorous enforcement of obligations by the Commission, revision of ACER and ENTSO’s regulatory powers and better alignment of the IEM framework to the low carbon agenda. This commitment should be as strong when defining how does the concept of governance look like.
Four key messages should resonate at the heart of the debate:
- Getting the governance arrangements right is critical: a credible governance framework is key to meet the 2030 targets and deliver the Energy Union vision because it would reinforce investor confidence, energy security and to enable citizens to take ownership of the transition
- Governance reform should reinforce the 2020 acquis as the currently existing elements are the cornerstones for the Energy Union as well as climate and energy targets
- To be credible, and to fulfil the European Council’s mandate to ‘build on the building blocks’, post-2020 governance must be designed to strengthen the European Union’s conformity with the European Commission’s core principles of ‘good governance’
- The door should be open for wider institutional and procedural innovation as this would mean combining existing legal tool with other innovative approaches to improve good governance
The attached briefing paper expands on this vision.
 Governance is the framework of institutional and procedural arrangements put in place to allocate responsibility for achieving the transition to a sustainable energy system which puts energy efficiency first, ensures increased use of decentralised and renewable energy, and delivers Europe’s longer-term climate objectives.
This project action has received funding from the European Commission through a LIFE grant. The content of this section reflects only the author's view. The Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.