EU energy and climate policy

EU energy and climate policy is designed to achieve the objective of a secure, sustainable and competitive energy system. The Energy Union provides the overall framework for a range of EU climate and environment policy instruments.
EU energy and climate policy is designed to achieve the objective of a secure, sustainable and competitive energy system. The Energy Union provides the overall framework for a range of EU climate and environment policy instruments.
The Energy Union focuses on five dimensions:
  • Energy security, solidarity and trust
  • A fully integrated European energy market
  • Energy efficiency as a contribution to moderation of demand
  • Decarbonising the economy
  • Research, innovation and competitiveness

Security of supply is a very important issue for the EU, which imports more than 50 % of its energy. This share is expected to rise considerably in the years ahead. Improvements to infrastructure and diversification of energy supply sources are considered to be important means of improving security of supply within the EU.

The second dimension of the Energy Union is completion of the internal energy market. The need for better infrastructure and for further development of the legislation are both key issues here. The energy market must be competitive, consumer-centred, flexible and non-discriminatory.

Moderating energy demand is the third dimension. The building sector is an important source of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Two key elements here are improving energy efficiency in the sector and smart urban planning. There are plans to support ways of simplifying access to financing for energy efficiency measures. It will also be very important to limit energy use by and greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector.

The Energy Union’s fourth dimension is decarbonisation of the economy, which will deliver cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Work in this area is focusing particularly on the EU’s emission commitment for 2030. A well-functioning EU ETS is seen as the cornerstone of EU climate policy. Renewable energy is also an important element of EU policy, because a large proportion of electricity production in Europe is based on fossil fuels such as coal.

The Energy Union’s fifth dimension is research, innovation and competitiveness. Coordination between research programmes is to be improved, with the aim of achieving an integrated EU approach and obtaining the best possible results from the resources invested in research and innovation. There will be four priority areas: the development of the next generation of renewable energy technologies; smart technologies that enable active participation by consumers in the energy market; efficient energy systems; and more sustainable transport systems.

Development of the Energy Union

The European Commission published its proposed strategy for the Energy Union in February 2015. The Council and the Parliament endorsed the plans, and in the two years since then, a number of proposals have been put forward for development of the legislation.

Legislative proposals from the European Commission

The July 2015 energy summer package included:

  • proposed revision of the directive on the Emissions Trading System (ETS) for the period 2021-2030;
  • revision of the energy labelling rules;
  • new rules on energy market design.

The February 2016 sustainable energy security package included:

  • revised Security of Gas Supply Regulation;
  • new rules for intergovernmental agreements on energy;
  • heating and cooling strategy;
  • liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas storage strategy.

The July 2016 package included

  • proposals for binding national greenhouse gas emission targets for non-ETS sectors (transport, buildings, agriculture, waste and land use and forestry);
  • strategy on low-emission mobility intended to reduce emissions from the transport sector.

The November 2016 package ‘Clean energy for all Europeans’ included

  • regulation on the governance of the Energy Union;
  • revised Renewable Energy Directive;
  • revised Energy Efficiency Directive;
  • revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive;
  • new Internal Market in Electricity Directive;
  • new Internal Market in Electricity Regulation;
  • revised Regulation on the European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER);
  • new regulation on risk preparedness in the electricity sector
  • research and development.

The European Commission publishes an annual State of the Energy Union report describing progress in the development of the Energy Union. These reports form part of the governance system for achieving the goals of the Energy Union.

Information from the EU on the status of the Energy Union can be found here.

 

Updated: 27.02.2018