Wednesday

20th Feb 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"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.

Interview

Russian and US obstruction was 'insult' to climate scientists

Professor Richard Betts led an EU-funded research project into global warming. Although he sensed an increase in determination at UN climate talks in Poland, he condemned as an "insult" the refusal of several countries to welcome a new report.

Auditors raise alarm over air pollution in Europe

Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and the Netherlands "have not taken sufficient action to improve air quality", according to a new report. In 2015, nearly 400,000 people in the EU died prematurely due to air pollution.

News in Brief

  1. Estonia kicks out Danske Bank over money laundering scandal
  2. May and Juncker meet over Brexit on Wednesday
  3. EU promises to open up advisory groups
  4. EU agrees to limit CO2 emissions by trucks
  5. Juncker under attack in Hungary government ad
  6. EU would not oppose extending Brexit talks, Juncker said
  7. Juncker expects Trump not to impose new car tariffs
  8. Former EU official sentenced for office rape

Stakeholder

COP24 Nordic Pavilion: sharing climate solutions with the world

The Nordic Pavilion at COP24 is dedicated to dialogue – TalaNordic – about key themes regarding the transition to a low-carbon society, such as energy, transport, urban futures, the circular economy and green financing.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties
  2. EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news
  3. Trump right for once: Europe should take back foreign fighters
  4. EU should clarify rules for plant burgers and lab meat
  5. Italian populists could be second biggest force in EU parliament
  6. Merkel defends Russia ties, ridicules Trump on cars
  7. British MPs condemn Facebook CEO's misrule
  8. EU's chance to step up on Hungary and Poland

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us