Europe's energy system needs to be fundamentally
transformed, shifting away from reliance on fossil fuels, according
to the European Commission's proposals for an energy
framework strategy for the energy union,
published today, explains how the commission plans to achieve this
transformation. The strategy attempts to create a coherent vision
by synthesising all existing EU policies on climate and energy with
a number of new initiatives.
Reactions so far suggest this synthesis has only been partially
Legal NGO ClientEarth says the strategy lacks clear rules on
how EU targets will be met.
Thinktank E3G says the strategy is "good on vision, but deeply
confused on delivery priorities".
NGO Greenpeace says the plan is "contradictory" and lacks
WWF says it has "blind spots".
Carbon Brief explains where the idea of an
energy union came from and shows how the strategy text has evolved
through several drafts, revealing evidence of the differing
political priorities that have challenged creation of a clear and
It's important to note that the commission
proposal will be discussed by member state governments at meetings
in March, April and June. They could propose further
Moving on from Tusk's energy security
The idea of an energy union was first proposed
by European Council president and former Polish prime
Donald Tusk in an April 2014
article for the Financial Times. Tusk's
proposal emphasised energy security above all.
It called for region-wide purchasing of gas,
linking and strengthening the EU's electricity transmission
systems, and making "full use" of EU fossil fuel reserves,
including coal and shale gas.
Earlier this month, Carbon Brief produced a
union briefing based on a leaked draft strategy
dated 30 January. The briefing explained how Tusk's proposal had
been transformed into a more holistic strategy with five
"dimensions": integrated energy markets, a new deal for energy
consumers, energy efficiency, decarbonising the economy and
Since then, a
second draft was widely leaked, including to
Carbon Brief. This draft shifted emphasis in a number of key areas
while the final version moves things on again. So, how has the
energy union evolved in recent weeks?