In this blog I want to share and then comment on four recent slide decks from the EC Secretariat General’s 6 October 2015 “technical working group” (TWG) of member state representatives on future EU framework (laws) for energy and (perhaps) climate.
First the four slide decks (PPT as PDF):
- 1a: Preparation of national […] plans
- 1b: Use of projections in the preparation of national […] plans
- 2b: Concept and first analysis of key indicators
- 2c: Inventory of current planning and reporting obligations in view of […] streamlining
This is all quite jigsaw that we need to work through step-by-step. So next a caveat: the discussion below is only about this SG-led process and so is without prejudice to other discussions on the same topic in Council and in Parliament.
On an analysis, it is perhaps best to start with four issues on which the documents are silent:
- Parliament: What is Parliament’s role in the process, if any? Parliament insists it must be involved but, if it were on some way excluded, what would happen to planning and reporting legal requirements in existing laws? Unless Parliament agrees to repeal them they will carry on.
- Non-climate environmental acquis: Climate does not have a dedicated legal base in the treaties. Climate action has always relied on the environment chapter, since the limitation of greenhouse gas emissions is a control on air pollution. Other important air pollution legislation overlaps with greenhouse gas controls, for example the Industrial Emissions Directive 2010 and one of its precursors the Large Combustion Plant Directive 2001. As operators of old and inefficient coal plants choose not to upgrade their installations to IED-LCP standards, so the resulting drop in coal burn is a climate benefit as well as one for local air pollutants.
- Competition: State aid, merger control and other anti-competitive practices all have significant impacts on energy trading. Controlling these properly is essential for the realisation of a single market. But could a new national planning regime lead to competition controls being curtailed or abandoned? The SG documents are silent. Past practice on state aid e.g. has meant that new EU laws usually contain a recital reminding readers that the application of the new law is without prejudice to requirements for state aid control, which from a basic structural point of view is acceptable.
- Euratom: Are Euratom requirements in scope or not? If only some, which ones? The 2011 radioactive waste management directive e.g. has planning and reporting requirements. The (bad) situation in many member state in this area would certainly benefit from more transparency at the EU level. But because the SG remains vague on scope, we don’t yet know if it will.
Next are objectives and indicators. Here the SG slides are just as fuzzy. First, the docs suggest, rather than dimensions, that there are “energy union” objectives though in fact none exist. Second the slides reiterate a proposal for “key indicators”, first made January 2014, still without saying what these could or should be. There is however a table of potential “the indicators” (not “key“) as follows:
The third slide deck does says we may see more specific proposals on 18 November, so perhaps things change soon. Likewise, the energy union country fact sheets (‘fiches’) remain secret for now but should also be released on 18 November.
Overall clearly this is still a SG work in progress. There was no initiative on the topic listed in the EC’s 2016 work programme adopted yesterday. The next meeting of the TWG is listed for 15 December 2015.
Finally, on governance more generally, see also my first blog on this topic on 11 February 2014. ☙