Council Meeting Discusses European 2030 Climate and Energy Strategy, Reviews 2020 Strategy and Adopts Conclusions on Internal Energy Market and ILUC

At the EU Council meeting on energy yesterday in Brussels, Council held a policy debate on the 2030 Climate and Energy framework. Following-up on the October European Council conclusions, the Council discussed a mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy and adopted conclusions on the completion of the internal energy market as well as its position at first reading on the draft directive on indirect land-use change (ILUC). One aspect of the debate was to explore the potential of energy and climate sector to attract investments in the framework of Commission President Juncker’s proposed EUR 315 billion investment plan.

1. 2030 Climate and Energy Framework

In October the Council endorsed a binding EU target of an at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. A binding EU-wide target of at least 27% was set for the share of renewable energy consumed in the EU in 2030 and an indicative EU-level target of at least 27% for improving energy efficiency.
Regarding the new governance process which shall underpin the implementation of the agreed framework, ministers in general considered
“that the new process would contribute to the consistency of EU policies in this field but must be kept as flexible as possible, since it will be applicable for a rather long period and should not add to the administrative burden.”
The main issues highlighted in the debate were the following:
  • potential of regional cooperation and coordination in planning processes to support market integration, taking into account member states’ specific circumstances;
  • importance of decarbonisation, in particular of the transport sector, which is one of the most energy intensive sectors and is also transboundary;
  • continue to address carbon leakage, in order to guarantee competitiveness of European industries;
  • strengthen consumers’ role;
  • ensure affordable energy prices for consumers and industry ;
  • importance of the completion of electricity and gas interconnections between member states and the development of “smart grids”;
  • explore the potential of energy and climate sector to attract investments in the framework of Commission President Juncker’s proposed investment plan.

2. Completion of Internal Energy Market

The Council adopted conclusions on the completion of the internal energy market. They are divided into three parts:
  • measures to be taken in order to complete the internal energy market;
  • wholesale markets;
  • retail markets.

The conclusions focus in particular on

  • the adoption and implementation of network codes;
  • implementation of projects of common interest (regarding the so-called PCI projects, please see here);
  • interconnections (regarding the minimum target of 10% of electricity interconnections, please see the October Council conclusions, page 6);
  • cooperation at EU level between national administrations, national regulatory authorities and network operators;
  • regional market integration;
  • cross-border cooperation;
  • increasing awareness and involvement of consumers.

3. Mid-term Review of the Europe 2020 Strategy

The Council held a policy debate on the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy (that includes a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 20 %, an increase of the share of renewable energy to 20 % and a 20 % improvement in energy efficiency).
The minutes of the meeting say that
“The outcome will be part of the synthesis report to be endorsed by the European Council in December. It will provide guidance for subsequent Commission proposals aimed at improving implementation of the strategy.”
Ministers agreed in general on the importance of the 2020 strategy, saying the EU was on track to meet the targets. They highlighted positive aspects such as the increase of sustainability in the electricity sector, but said further work needed to be done, as areas as market integration and network development were lagging behind (regarding delays in building German grids, please see here).

4. Indirect Land-use Change (Biofuels)

The Council also adopted, without debate, its position at first reading on the draft directive on indirect land-use change (ILUC), which amends the fuel quality and renewable energy directives. “The adoption will pave the way for the forthcoming negotiations with the European Parliament”, Council said.

The aim of the proposed directive is to start a transition to biofuels that deliver substantial greenhouse gas savings, while protecting investments made and providing a clearer investment perspective.

Source: Council of the European Union

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