Higher ambition and concrete measures needed for EU governments’ energy and climate plans - report

A new CAN Europe report, "Time to pick up the pace: Insights into the draft National Energy and Climate Plans” provides a first assessment of 24 draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) flagging main issues identified by CAN Europe’s members in 24 countries, and making recommendations for improvements.

The draft NECPs offer a starting point for EU Member States to engage in detailed discussions on the way to 2030 and beyond. However, there are clear indications that the plans as they currently stand lag behind on ambition and concrete measures to accelerate the shift to a fully energy-efficient and renewable energy system.


The minimum ambition level the NECPs are required to deliver is set by the EU’s sectoral climate and energy legislation including the Effort sharing Regulation, the Renewable Energy Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive. However, there is no limitation on Member States to design more ambitious plans. As none of the 2030 targets agreed are adequate for the EU to deliver on its commitments under the Paris Agreement, Member States should use their national plans to go beyond what is required to meet the overall EU climate and energy targets for 2030.

Amongst the 24 countries covered by the report, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and France aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2045 or 2050 at the latest.

Still, countries covered in the report do not demonstrate high ambition on energy savings and renewable energy, indicating a lack of focus in their actions for the next decade. This is reflected in the insufficient level of their targets, the lack of concrete policies and measures, or the combination of both.

What’s more, countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Greece still plan to rely heavily on coal while Italy and Ireland plan to continue to invest in fossil gas all the way until 2030 and beyond, despite the European Commission’s proposal for the EU to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.

Based on the draft NECPs, the report also comes up with main recommendations that Member States urgently need to follow:

  - Increase the level of climate ambition

  - Go beyond the minimum requirements for renewable energy and energy savings

  - Develop robust policies and measures to underpin the delivery of the energy transition

  - Plan for phasing out coal

  - Ensure climate-proofing of new energy infrastructure

  - Shift financial flows away from fossil fuels

  - Ensure public participation and debate

 Luckily, there is still enough time for Member States to improve the plans before finalising them at the end of 2019. The European Commission must hold EU governments accountable for the quality of the draft plans, and make recommendations that will ensure the EU gears towards higher climate ambition in the short term and net-zero emissions well before 2050.