Energy Union – the year of engagement

The Third Report on the State of the Energy Union shows that Europe’s transition to a low-carbon society is becoming the new reality on EU’s ground.

Thanks to progress in 2017, the EU is on track to implement the Energy Union project and deliver jobs, growth and investments. Enabling actions are being put in place to support a socially fair clean energy transition.

Now, the time has come to mobilise the society – citizens, cities, rural areas, companies, academia, social partners – to take full ownership of the Energy Union, take it even forward and engage actively in developing the solutions of the future.

The Third State of the Energy Union Report published today tracks the progress made over the past year after the publication of the Second State of the Energy Union in February 2017 and looks forward to the year ahead.

The Third State of the Energy Union also confirms that energy transition is not possible without adapting the infrastructure to the needs of the future energy system. Energy, transport and telecommunication infrastructure are more and more interlinked. Local networks will become ever more important in the daily lives of European citizens, who will increasingly switch to electro-mobility, decentralised energy production and demand response. Considerable achievements have been made but bottlenecks remain particularly in the field of electricity. To address this, the Commission today adopted a Communication on the 2030 electricity interconnection target of 15%. It also adopted the third list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI).

Commenting on the report Maroš Šefčovič, the Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union, said: “The Energy Union will only succeed if we all pull in the same direction. The aim is to deliver on our commitment to complete the Energy Union by the end of the Commission’s current mandate. By 2019, the Energy Union must no longer be a policy but a daily reality benefitting every European citizen. This will require increased ownership by all parts of society. Therefore, I see the next year as the year of engagement”.

Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said: “Europe’s energy transition is well underway, with record levels of renewable energy and rapidly falling costs. But Europe’s energy infrastructure must develop in the same direction and with the same speed to fully support this energy transition. That’s why we are proposing to focus the new list of projects on key electricity interconnections and smart grids. Today’s steps to boost clean energy infrastructure are another important move towards making our energy system more sustainable, more competitive and more secure – providing genuine European added value”.


Key findings

Less than three years since the publication of the Energy Union Framework Strategy, the Commission has presented with its ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ nearly all the proposals needed to deliver on the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle, support EU global leadership in climate action and renewable energy and provide a fair deal for energy consumers.

In March this year the ‘Europe on the Move’set of initiatives for the transport sector with the aim to stay competitive in a socially fair transition towards clean energy and digitalisation as well as the ‘Clean Mobility Package’ presented in November – a decisive step forward in implementing the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement for a binding domestic CO2 reduction of at least 40% till 2030, are concrete deliverable in the process of completing the Energy Union project.

The completion of the Energy Union requires engagement and close cooperation between the Commission, Member States and society as a whole. That is precisely why Member States will need to finalise the draft integrated national energy and climate plans for the post-2020 period by early 2018. Having the draft plans by early 2018 is also essential to demonstrate the Union’s strong leadership on the global stage.

Geopolitical events have kept energy and climate at the top of the agenda in 2017. The intention of the US Administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement prompted the EU to show leadership by reinforcing synergies between its climate and energy diplomacies in response. The EU will continue to reaffirm its commitment to the global fight against climate change and to strengthening its existing global partnerships.

The State of the Union also underlines that while global changes in energy production poses serious challenges to Europe it also creates unique opportunities for Europe to step up its role as a global leader in the clean energy transition while providing energy security to all its citizens. Showing ambition on issues such as renewables, energy efficiency, climate action and clean energy innovation and ensuring the right price signals in the market, is a precondition to attract investments in modernising the entire EU economy to the benefit of citizens.

The Energy Union has delivered but continued engagement is key in achieving the remaining tasks. All the Energy Union related legislative proposals presented by the Commission need to be addressed as a priority by the European Parliament and Council.

What was adopted today

  • 3rd report on the State of the Energy Union and Annex 1: Updated Energy Union roadmap; Annex 2: Policy observations; Annex 3: State of play of preparations on national energy and climate plans; Annex 4: Progress in Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation; 28 Member States Energy Union fact sheets
  • 3rd list of Projects of Common Interest
  • Infrastructure Communication (on the implementation of the 15% electricity interconnection target)
  • Energy Efficiency Progress Report
  • Report on the functioning of the European carbon market
  • Report on the Covenant of Mayors
  • Trends and projections report of the European Environment Agency
  • Study on Residential Energy Prosumers

More information:

The 3rd report on the State of the Energy Union, the 28 Country Reports, and more background information can be found here.

Source: The European Commission