Sunday

21st Apr 2019

Seven member states miss climate plan deadline

  • EU countries agreed to submit national energy and climate plans to Brussels, in order to have more coordination. But seven of them missed the self-imposed deadline. (Photo: Timo Heinonen)

Seven EU member states have not yet sent the European Commission their draft energy and climate strategy, despite having agreed to a 31 December 2018 deadline.

The countries that did not submit their draft plan on time were Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, and Spain.

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"It's classic that we have an implementation deficit," said centre-left German MEP Jo Leinen, commenting on the delays.

"We make the rules together, everybody agrees at the end to have that rule. But implementation is a different planet," he told EUobserver in Strasbourg.

A spokeswoman for the commission said she expected the plans to arrive in Brussels "shortly".

Last year, the national governments, the European Parliament, and the commission agreed that each of the 28 EU member states should make a 10-year plan related to energy and climate action.

The plan should include national goals and planned policies to achieve those goals.

According to the commission these plans "are necessary tools for a more strategic energy and climate policy planning".

Following submission of the draft plans, the commission gives feedback by mid-2019, so that each member state can submit a final 10-year-plan by the end of 2019.

Initially, the commission had proposed that the draft plans should be due by 1 January 2018.

However, EU member states pushed for a later deadline of 31 December 2018, which they got.

The political deal on the regulation's content was agreed in June 2018, and approved by EU ambassadors in Brussels that same month.

It took some time for the bill to become law, receiving the final rubber-stamp at a meeting of ministers on 4 December 2018. All EU member states voted in favour of the regulation - and the deadlines.

"You are right that Greece has not submitted its draft yet," confirmed a spokesman for the Greek delegation in Brussels.

"There was a high participation by parties involved during the public consultation phase, which for that reason lasted longer than expected, but the draft is now at its final stage," he added.

The responsible Greek minister has said that the draft plan will be submitted by 10 February at the latest, according to the spokesman.

In Luxembourg, the national elections in October and subsequent government formation was the cause of the delay, a spokeswoman noted.

She said that draft energy and climate plan would be finished "in [the] shortest possible time".

A diplomatic source from Cyprus said it expected to send its report to Brussels "by the end of the month", and explained that "the involvement of numerous services in Cyprus" caused the delay.

A spokeswoman for the Hungarian EU embassy in Brussels noted that "the inter-ministerial consultation" of the draft plan were still ongoing. Hungary also plans to submit the draft plan by the end of January.

Representations of the other three countries did not respond to queries from EUobserver.

Lack of commitment

Hungarian Green MEP Benedek Javor told EUobserver he was concerned that the Hungarian government was "not committed enough to join the common European efforts to adopt strong and progressive climate regulation in the EU" - and to implement them.

"We are far from fulfilling the obligations included in the Paris agreement so we should speed up our effort," said Javor, adding he was "extremely disappointed" in his government.

The MEP said that if European countries themselves do not seem to do their best to fulfil the global climate agreement forged in Paris in 2015, it would also not convince other countries in the world to step up.

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