19 Apr 2019

The Energy Union: from vision to reality

Europe is already a world leader in fighting climate change. European policies implemented over the last five years in all policy areas have put the EU on the right track to fully embrace the transition to clean energy, seizing the economic opportunities it offers, generating growth and jobs and a healthier environment for consumers.

The fourth report on the state of the Energy Union, adopted on Tuesday 9 April, shows that the Commission has fully delivered its vision of an Energy Union strategy that ensures accessible, affordable, secure, competitive and sustainable energy for all Europeans.

Beyond modernising Europe’s climate and energy policy, the Energy Union boosts the transition of the European economy towards clean energy in key sectors, in line with commitments made under the Paris Agreement and ensuring a socially fair transition. Building a resilient Energy Union, endowed with a forward-looking climate and energy policy, has been one of the Juncker Commission’s political priorities. The report is accompanied by two documents showing what progress has been made in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Energy Union has strengthened the internal energy market and increased the Union’s energy security thanks to new intelligent infrastructures (also cross-border), a new, more advanced market design and a cooperation mechanism between the Member States to respond to possible crises in a more effective and efficient manner.

As the Commission has recently underlined in its Communication “A Clean Planet for All“, the energy transition requires a comprehensive economic and social transformation involving all sectors of the economy and society in order to achieve the transition to climate neutrality by 2050. The Energy Union framework sets Europe on the road to a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy.

The Juncker Commission has established a new legislative framework for the Energy Union. The updated legislative framework has enabled the Union to maintain its leadership in climate action by increasing its level of ambition by 2030 in energy-related sectors: from the most demanding targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency to those relating to emissions from cars, vans and trucks. In addition to the new legislative framework, the Commission has put in place a number of support measures to ensure a smooth transition of European industries, regions and cities. A number of specific initiatives ensure that regions and citizens benefit equally from the energy transition. One such initiative is the European Batteries Alliance. This sector has been identified as a strategic value chain for the Union in the context of a reinforced industrial policy strategy. The Energy Union report is also accompanied by a specific report on the implementation of the strategic action plan for batteries.

A second communication published “More efficient and democratic decision-making in EU energy and climate policy” calls for strengthening the democratic accountability of the decision-making process under the Euratom Treaty. The Commission will set up a High-Level Expert group to assess the situation with regard to the Euratom Treaty with a view to considering how its democratic accountability could be improved on the basis of the current Treaty.

In the same communication, the Commission calls on the European Parliament and the Council to examine how energy taxation can better contribute to achieving climate and energy policy objectives, and how recourse to qualified majority voting by the Member States can help unblock progress in this regard. This approach is underpinned by the Commission’s blueprint for a gradual transition to qualified majority voting in all areas of tax policy, made public in January.