All 28 EU leaders agreed to forge stronger ties on energy, vowing late on Thursday to build long-term strategies to shift to cleaner technologies and coordinated diplomacy to help strike a global climate deal by year-end.
The European Council, chaired by former Polish PM Donald Tusk, backed the European Commission’s proposal on energy union and vowed to develop it in detail before December.
Among other points in the Council Conclusions, the leaders called for:
- reviewing and developing legislation related to emissions reduction, energy-efficiency and renewables to underpin the agreed 2030 targets; developing a reliable and transparent governance system
- developing an energy and climate-related technology and innovation strategy, including for example on the next generation of renewables, on electricity storage and carbon capture and storage, on improving energy efficiency in the housing sector as well as on sustainable transport
The leaders agreed to take “a strong coordinated action through an active European climate diplomacy ahead of the COP21 in Paris, in line with the ambitious objective fixed by the October 2014 European Council, as reflected in the contribution submitted recently by the EU and its Member States.”
“(The Council) urges all parties in a position to do so, including major economies, to submit their contributions by the end of March. It is also necessary to intensify work on solutions on financing, technology transfer and capacity-building, which are key issues in view of an ambitious agreement in Paris.”
Environmental campaigners Greenpeace welcomed the energy union’s recognition on cutting emissions and the use of renewable but say the strategy is contradictory because it does not aim to rule out the role of fossil fuels to bolster Europe’s energy security.
“EU leaders have talked up their global climate leadership and talked down their addiction to an old and polluting energy system at home. Europe can still claim it’s a step ahead on climate change – although it could do much more – but it’s struggling to back this up with a clear vision on energy policy that cuts out coal and other fossil fuels. There’s only so much you can promise before you have to deliver on the ground,” said Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser Tara Connolly in a statement.
EU governments are expected to agree a detailed joint negotiating position for Paris in June or October.