Policy brief: Another Claude Turmes’ Magic tricks

By Claire Roumet on 29 June 2018

by Claire Roumet, Executive director of Energy Cities

In the middle of the night of 19th to 20th June, a final agreement between the Council, the Parliament and the European Commission was reached on the “Governance of the Energy Union” Directive, in the wake of the Renewable Energy (14th June) and Energy Efficiency (19th June) Directives . We are therefore now in the home straight with just the “electricity market design” piece missing to put the final touch to the newEU Energy and Climate legal landscape.

What should we take home from this last sequence?

• The Paris Agreement has shifted positions. In October 2014, the European Council approved a 40% GHG reduction by 2030 target, including targets of “at least” 27% for renewables and 27% for energy efficiency. The EU agreement now sets targets for renewables of 32% and 32.5% for energy efficiency. And the governance agreement includes a net-zero economy targetby 2050 with the obligation for the Commission and all the Member States to build long-term strategies towards achieving this aim.

• The post-COP21 period with the withdrawal of the United-States and the emergence of new climate champions is pushing the European Union back, first into the diplomatic, but especially the industrial arena. It is because the industry needs to reposition itself that the European Union is (finally!) seeing the transition as an opportunity. The dieselgate scandal has also contributed to this realisation by showing the weakness of an economy dependent on fossil and fissile resources.

• The Governance Directive, whose agreement terms have not yet been published, establishes a stakeholder dialogue for defining national climate and energy plans and introduces a flexible system for controlling the trajectories of each country. Since it is not binding, I hope the implementation of this directive will encourage public debates focused on trajectories and results that are transparent; debates that are in fact essential to move into a citizen mobilisation phase.

Growing awareness has therefore succeeded in framing the debate. But what is most firmly set in my mind is the importance of those individuals who have each put so much into these negotiations, to the best of their abilities.

A lot of stamina is needed to stay the distance, not be daunted by the magnitude of the issues at stake and even add to them. We need to show ambition, have a very clear vision of where we want to be and trust in our own capacity to keep on transforming the European Union in a sustainable, democratic and inclusive way, but above all, we must be able to take on board a wide range of not always converging interests and set them in the same direction.

Claude Turmes, a committed MEP for the last 20 years, masters this art of leadership like no one else. I congratulate all those who have worked relentlessly towards reaching these agreements, which by and large are favourable to the energy transition, and I wish to express my infinite gratitude to Claude for his dedication and uncompromising stance.

Claude Turmes - Annual conference of Energy Cities - April 2017

©photo: Max Kovalenko

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