Energy 12 July, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

CEEP: Regional cooperation could help national energy policies

CEEP gathered in this report a series of opinions and analysis on the proposed Governance of the Energy Union with a special focus on Central Europe and potential impact on the energy and industry sector.

To start with, Marco GIULI from the European Policy Center, explains that though the energy policy is often considered a historic underperformer in terms of Europeanisation, the Governance Regulation proposal introduces elements of Europeanisation both vertically and horizontally. And to take just an example, in vertical terms, the proposal introduces a process of EU monitoring of the national energy and climate plans (INECPs) that Member States are asked to develop for 10-year periods.

Regarding these National Plans, Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Energy Union mentioned that these “will be developed through iterations and broad consultations. It is therefore a rare opportunity for all stakeholders – businesses, social partners, consumers organisations, cities and regional governments – to voice their views. It is important that the consultations are as inclusive as possible and that we see as many stakeholders participating as possible. The Energy Union cannot and should not be built in Brussels”.

In our own position paper, we argue that the governance of the Energy Union should provide a coherent and stable framework to boost investments in the energy sector, among other criteria.

Leszek JESIEŃ, the Director of the Department of International Cooperation, PSE, explains the basis of the governance concept which seems to have been built on the concept of open method of coordination that was used for the EURO area as well. By comparing the two, he underlines the mismatches, shortcomings and lessons that should have been learned from past experience.

CEEP’s own analyst looks at the new role the European Commission offers itself, saying that in this multifaceted matrix, the European Commission will play a central role as a policy coordinator, entrepreneur and, in certain cases, enforcer, while facing a substantive administrative burden (related for example to analysis of the INECP, issuing recommendation etc.), which may pose a challenge for effectively performing its role.

Wardynski & Partners’ legal adviser, Weronika PELC, reminds us about the obligations under the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, since the parties are required to define binding nationally determined contributions (NDCs) by 2020 and are supposed to report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts. She underlines that the proposed Governance Regulation introduces a detailed framework for integrated national energy and climate plans, which inter alia, shall set Member States objectives, targets and contributions in the dimension “Decarbonisation”.

When talking about energy efficiency targets, the head of technical affairs of EPSOG states that the investments needed in implementation of energy efficiency measures requires approximately 26 billion EUR for the period 2021–2030 in the Czech Republic. Ambitious EU commitments should take into consideration the specificities of each Member State.

Eugenia GUSILOV, director of the Romanian think tank ROEC, warns that the Commission has to be mindful of the reality in Central and Eastern Europe, where coal still plays an important role. The EU sees itself as a global leader in renewables, but it must not forget that it has members who cannot commit more than they already have to the EU’s green agenda, as well as making sure that the clean energy drive does not impose undue costs on its poorer Member States.

Anna DIMITROVA from EURELECTRIC, writes about five key areas that require further attention in order to ensure that the Governance Regulation assumes the role of a backbone instrument, supporting all future EU energy and climate policies, with the overarching objective of ensuring the attainment of the Energy Union: addressing the impact of policy overlaps; ensuring Member States’ timely compliance with obligations under the Regulation; improving effective and practical regional cooperation; enshrining electrification as a cornerstone element of national strategy setting; and the transparent engagement of all relevant stakeholders in the process of defining all future national and European climate and energy plans and strategies.

Regional cooperation could constitute a key element to improve coordination of Member States’ national energy policies, and move towards the creation of the internal energy market. However, this process should be solely consultative in its nature, and not enforced. If designed properly, combined with the Member States’ will, it can enable elimination of the projects or policy decisions which affect other countries or which are contrary to the Energy Union objectives