Strategy for an EU External Energy Engagement

As part of the REPowerEU package, the European External Action Service along with the EU Commission have prepared a new strategy for the EU energy engagement that was announced this past May. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine back in 2022, the world has been facing an energy crisis. The energy engagement plan, which was announced last year in May as part of REPowerEU, explained how the EU will support global efforts to make clean, sustainable, secure, and affordable energy.

The overall strategy has many points including:

  • Reducing the overall energy demand by making sure the playing ground for resources is fair for all competitors.
  • Increasing energy savings, efficiency and developmental efforts for renewable energy.
  • Helping to build up Ukraine.
  • Making preparations for future integrations of the EU energy market.
  • Fixing energy infrastructures.
  • Furthering green hydrogen partnerships for the future.

To phase out the EU’s dependance on Russian gas, the EU Energy Platform was established to secure the current and future energy supply. This voluntary coordination mechanism will focus on the EU’s purchase of gas and hydrogen. Plus the EU will continue to look into other international networks to utilise and maintain a well-functioning global energy market.

As President Ursula von der Leyen says, there are three things that the EU did when the war broke out. 

“We have done three things, as you recall: The first one was demand reduction. Demand reduction, so save gas in order to save it in the storage. — The second step that we have taken was: Diversify away from Russian fossil fuels. …And we were able, if you look at the cuts that Russia has done in gas, to completely compensate so far the gas imports through other reliable suppliers. — And of course, the third step is the most important one. This is massive investments in renewables. We have REPowerEU on the table. The renewables are cheap, they are home-grown, they make us independent. … So renewables are really our energy insurance for the future.”

Currently, the EU Commission has a long-term strategic plan that if followed closely will be fulfilled by 2050. This prosperous, modern, competitive, and climate-neutral economy plan will be essential to achieve the economic transformation and expand sustainable developmental goals as set by the Paris Agreement. That agreement required all parties to prepare a long-term plan to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emission and help keep the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

Five national long-term and EU strategies are in the process of being completed in the next 30 years:

  1. The total amount of greenhouse gas emission should be reduced and enhanced by the removal of sinks.
  2. Reduce emission and enhance removals in individual sectors like:
    • Electricity
    • Industry
    • Transport
    • Heating, cooling, and building sectors (like residential and tertiary)
    • Agriculture
    • Waste and land use
    • LULUCF or the land-use change and forestry
  3. Transition to lower the greenhouse gas emission for the economy, including:
    • Greenhouse gas intensity
    • CO2 intensity of gross domestic product
    • Related estimates of long-term investment
    • Strategies for related research
    • Development and innovation
  4. Decarbonisation measures for a more feasible and socio-economic effect which included:
    • Inter alia
    • Aspects related to macro-economic and social development
    • Health risks and benefits and environmental protection
  5. Other national long-term objectives, planning and other policies and measures, and investments.

Since Member States were required to submit their first national long-term strategies to the Commission back in 2020, the next strategies are due in 2029 and every 10 years thereafter. Each strategy should be updated every five years and the Commission will help Member States by providing information on scientific knowledge and opportunities for sharing knowledge and best practices that are relevant for guiding them.

The head of the European Commission also mentioned how the EU has less nuclear electricity. She says because of this there are more challenges with astronomic electricity prices in households and companies, and with an unpredictable market. 

So five measures to combat this are: 

“First one is smart savings of electricity … We have to save electricity, but we have to save it in a smart way — The second measure: We will propose a cap on the revenues of companies that are producing electricity with low costs. … We will propose to re-channel these unexpected profits to the Member States so that the Member States can support the vulnerable households and vulnerable companies. — The third measure is that the same goes, of course, for the unexpected profits of fossil fuel companies. — The fourth point is addressing the energy utility companies that must be supported to be able to cope with the volatility of the markets. … Therefore, we will help to facilitate the liquidity support by Member States for energy companies. We will update our temporary framework and enable state guarantees to be delivered rapidly. — The fifth and the last point: We aim at lowering the costs of gas.”

There’s also the 10-year national energy and climate plans or NECPs which outline ways in which EU countries will help reach short term goals in 2030. It will require all government departments to work together and it will ease public and private investment planning. This plan works because all EU countries have the same template and will allow easier access to make working together more efficient. 

The national plans require these countries to address the following issues: 

  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewables
  • Greenhouse gas emissions reductions
  • Interconnections
  • Research and innovation

An assessment of the cumulative impact was created by the Commission in 2020 to go with the 27 NECPs received that year. This assessment will help with the 2030 Climate Target Plan and as of now it shows that renewable energy, that the EU estimated a higher target than originally estimated for. Also as far as the internal energy market and security is concerned, the Commission found that energy security is not a big risk but the energy market needs some areas of improvement, like getting higher shares of renewables through more storage and smart technologies. The goals of their regulations have been stressed to take into account that different countries can contribute to the energy union in different ways.

Here are the five goals of the regulation:

  1. Implement strategies and measures to ensure the objects of the energy union and long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions commitments remain consistent with the Paris agreement. 
  2. To have Member States cooperate with each other to achieve the objectives and targets of the energy union.
  3. Foster job growth and cohesion across the EU by promoting long-term certainty and predictability for investors.
  4. Reduce burdens administrators have by streamlining and integrating the current energy and climate planning and reporting requirements the EU countries are to give to the Commission. 
  5. This is to ensure consistency of reports by the EU and Member States under the UNFCCC and the Paris agreement.

This governance mechanism is based on NECPs which will cover the ten-year period national long-term strategies, integrate reporting, monitoring and data publication as a way to be transparent. When looking at research, innovations, and competitiveness, Member States need to be more specific by linking their policies to match their energy and climate ambitions. 

There are 5 dimensions of the energy union is built on:

  1. Security, Solidarity and Trust: for diversifying Europe’s energy sources, ensuring energy security through solidarity and for cooperation between EU countries. 
  2. To be fully Integrated: that the EU’s internal energy market is free flowing energy and adequate infrastructure without technical or regulatory barriers. 
  3. Energy Efficiency: to improve on energy efficiency that will reduce dependence on energy imports, will lower emissions, and drive up job growth.
  4. Climate Action and Decarbonising the Economy: the EU wants a quick ratification of the Paris Agreement and to retain its leadership in renewable energy.
  5. Research, Innovation, and Competitiveness: prioritising research and innovation breakthroughs in low carbon and clean energy technologies and increasing energy transition and competitiveness.

Another aspect to the EU energy engagement is to promote equality in all dimensions including diversity and inclusion in the workplaces. This will help when covering equality-related issues, will be a driver of economic growth and social well-being as well as share in actions to achieve equality in the energy sector. It included gender, sex, race, religion, disability, age and sexual orientation as a core principle of the EU and as a fundamental right. In order for the EU to pursue its European Green Deal to become climate neutral by 2050, they have become more influential with evolving technologies and energy-related jobs. Business, politics and society need diversity at the foundation to create equality and that’s why it’s important for the energy sector to actively promote equal opportunities from energy professionals and decision-makers to consumers. Another reason why the EU’s Energy Days, which started in 2016 was formed to not only promote clean energy but to also share knowledge, address the EU’s upcoming initiatives, network with international partners, businesses, innovators, and investors.

Lastly, President von der Leyen stated that,

“These are tough times, and they will not be over soon. But I am deeply convinced that, if we show solidarity, unity and we have the determination for that, we have the economic strength, we have the political will, that then we shall overcome.”

If you want to find out more information about the European Commission Energy strategy, you can view the entire plan at:


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