Mainly, The European Union is the first major economy to decide on a legally binding framework to deliver on its pledges under the Paris Agreement and this is the first time that Member States have prepared draft integrated national energy and climate plans (NECPs).
Yet, with plans currently falling short both in terms of renewables and energy efficiency contributions, reaching the EU's overall climate and energy goals will require a collective step up of ambition.
Vice-President for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič commented
These first national energy and climate plans bring the Energy Union to the national level: like the EU, Member States all present policies for the climate and energy transition in an integrated way and with a ten-year perspective. Member States have all produced impressive drafts in a relatively short time, but no draft is perfect.
Moreover, the EU is committed to delivering its commitments to reducing GHG emissions, while also delivering secure, affordable and sustainable energy for its citizens.
Concerning the Commission's 2030 targets, the renewables' gap could be as big as 1.6% points. For energy efficiency the gap may be as big as 6.2% points, if considering primary energy consumption, or 6% points, if considering final energy consumption.
The European Commission, though, reports that the Member States now have 6 months to raise their national level of ambition. The Commission's recommendations and detailed assessments aim to help Member States finalise their plans by the end of 2019, and to implement them effectively in the years to come. The plans will also facilitate Member States' programming of funding from the next multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027.
In the future, Member States are required to involve the public in the preparation of the final plans by the end of the year.
The deadline on submitting the final plans is December 31, 2019.
The Commission stands ready to support Member States in their efforts to finalise their NECPs by the end of 2019, building on the excellent cooperative process to date.
Member States were required to submit their draft NECPs by the end of 2018, which would then be the subject of an in-depth assessment by the Commission.
The Regulation states that if the draft NECPs do not sufficiently contribute to reaching the Energy Union's objectives – individually and/or collectively – then the Commission may, by the end of June 2019, make recommendations for Member States to amend their draft plans. The final NECPs for the period 2021-2030 must be submitted by Member States by the end of 2019.