The Governance of the Energy Union: A New Framework for Cooperation

On November 12 and 13, 2018, the European Parliament has debated and voted on the most recent version of the Regulation of the Governance of the Energy Union. This legislative act establishes the framework for cooperation and coordination on energy and climate change matters, having significant implications at both the national and EU levels.

It also represents the umbrella piece of legislation that should ensure the achievement of the 2030 energy and climate targets.

In its final form, the regulation directly responds to some of the main challenges of the current governance paradigm of the EU energy policy, while also enforcing the Commission’s commitment to Better Regulation. Therefore, this new framework aims to significantly reduce the administrative burden at both EU and national levels by:

• Streamlining a plethora of current planning, reporting and monitoring obligations. A study by the Commission has found a severe lack of policy coherence and consistency among the current obligations, which can lead to duplication and conflict. This regulation integrates 31 existing obligations and deletes another 23. The Climate Monitoring Mechanism is one of the most important such obligations that has been integrated in this framework;

• Updating the current energy and climate goals from the 2020 to the 2030 targets, while also incorporating the EU commitments under the UNFCCC 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement;

• Responding to the insufficient capacity for cross-national planning, problem highlighted in the Commission’s impact assessment for this regulation.

One of the most important outcomes of this legislative act is the requirement for governments to produce Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans. These plans must elaborate on the main priorities, strategies and actions to be taken within a 10-year period, covering all the five main areas of the Energy Union (security of supply, the internal energy market, energy efficiency, decarbonisation, and research and innovation).

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