The energy union strategy (COM/2015/080), published on 25 February 2015, as a key priority of the Juncker Commission (2014-2019), aims at building an energy union that gives EU consumers - households and businesses - secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy.
Since its launch in 2015, the European Commission has published several packages of measures and regular progress reports, which monitor the implementation of this key priority, to ensure that the energy union strategy is achieved.
Five dimensions of the energy union
The energy union builds five closely related and mutually reinforcing dimensions:
- Security, solidarity and trust - diversifying Europe's sources of energy and ensuring energy security through solidarity and cooperation between EU countries
- A fully integrated internal energy market - enabling the free flow of energy through the EU through adequate infrastructure and without technical or regulatory barriers
- Energy efficiency - improved energy efficiency will reduce dependence on energy imports, lower emissions, and drive jobs and growth
- Climate action, decarbonising the economy - the EU is committed to a quick ratification of the Paris Agreement and to retaining its leadership in the area of renewable energy
- Research, innovation and competitiveness - supporting breakthroughs in low-carbon and clean energy technologies by prioritising research and innovation to drive the energy transition and improve competitiveness.
State of the energy union reports
The fourth State of the energy union report was published in April 2019 and shows that Europe's energy supply is now safer, more viable and more accessible to everyone than it was only a few years ago. Furthermore, it shows that
- its modernised energy system boosts the EU economy, attracts investments and creates local job opportunities
- it has enabled the EU to increase its level of ambition for 2030 in a number of energy related sectors, from increased targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency, to targets on emissions from cars, vans and lorries
- it has provided a solid basis for work towards a modern and prosperous climate-neutral economy by 2050
- it has allowed the EU to speak with one strong voice, instrumental for the negotiation and implementation of the Paris Agreement, and to continue to lead by example in global climate action through a competitive and socially fair transition
Regulation on the governance of the energy union and climate action
The Regulation on the governance of the energy union and climate action (EU)2018/1999 entered into force on 24 December 2018 as part of the Clean energy for all Europeans package.
The regulation emphasises the importance of meeting the EU's 2030 energy and climate targets and sets out how EU countries and the Commission should work together, and how individual countries should cooperate, to achieve the energy union's goals. It takes into account the fact that different countries can contribute to the energy union in different ways.
The goals of the regulation are
- to implement strategies and measures which ensure that the objectives of the energy union, in particular the EU’s 2030 energy and climate targets, and the long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions commitments are consistent with the Paris agreement
- to stimulate cooperation between Member States in order to achieve the objectives and targets of the energy union
- to promote long-term certainty and predictability for investors across the EU and foster jobs, growth and social cohesion
- to reduce administrative burdens, in line with the principle of better regulation. This was done by integrating and streamlining most of the current energy and climate planning and reporting requirements of EU countries, as well as the Commission's monitoring obligations
- to ensure consistent reporting by the EU and its Member States under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris agreement, replacing the existing monitoring and reporting system from 2021 onwards
The governance mechanism is based on integrated national energy and climate plans (NECPs) covering ten-year periods starting from 2021 to 2030, EU and national long-term strategies, as well as integrated reporting, monitoring and data publication.
The transparency of the governance mechanism is ensured by consulting wide public on the NECPs.
The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union as of 1 February 2020. The Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and European Atomic Energy Community (OJ C 384I, 12.11.2019, p. 1) entered into force on the same date.
It provides for a transition period which will end on 31 December 2020. During the transition period, Union law, with a few exceptions, is applicable to and in the United Kingdom.
For the purposes of Union law applicable to it during the transition period, the United Kingdom is treated as an EU Member State, but will not participate in EU decision-making and decision-shaping.
- Energy union factsheets for EU countries (based on the third report of the state of the energy union, 2017) short summaries
- A framework strategy for a resilient energy union with a forward-looking climate change policy (COM/2015/080 final)
- Fourth state of the energy union (April 2019)
- Third state of the energy union report (November, 2017)
- Second state of the energy union report (February, 2017)
- Energy union and climate action: driving Europe's transition to a low-carbon economy (news published 20/07/2016)
- One year of energy union (news published 25/02/2016)
- The energy union is on track to deliver (news published 17/11/2015)
- Commission launches plan for energy union (news published 25/02/2015)