NECPs: meeting the deadlines while ensuring dialogue challenging for Member States 



Climate planning, adaptation and resilience
Energy planning and mitigation


The first versions of EU Member States’ National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) were submitted in 2020 as part of the Energy Union governance process: the European Commission pointed out in the first assessment of the plans that the NECPs had not involved local and regional authorities and stakeholders as they should have. Article 11 of the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action mandates Member States to set up a proper multilevel climate and energy dialogues. For the next version of the NECPs, which are due to be updated, the EU insists that Member States properly implement Article 11. The updated NECPs are currently being developed: the first draft was due no later than June 2023 and the final one in June 2024 – 3 months from now.  

Over this period, the NECPlatform project will contribute to making sure that EU Member States bridge the gap that has been highlighted by the EU Commission’s first assessment of the Plans.  

Yet, if we look around, it seems Member States are still not up to the task – despite NECPlatform project’s constant support, with partners advocating towards the organisation of meaningful dialogues and sometimes not receiving sufficient feedback from national authorities. 

In France, the NECP is based on 2 documents:  

  • The “Stratégie Nationale Bas Carbone” – the National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC), which is France’s roadmap for climate change mitigation policy. “It provides guidance for implementing the transition to a low-carbon economy in all sectors of activity. It sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at France level in the short/medium term – carbon budgets – and aims to achieve net zero carbon neutrality by 2050.” 
  • The “Plan Pluri-Annuel de l’Énergie” (Multiannual energy programming – EPP), which sets out the priorities for government action in the field of energy for the next 10 years, shared in two 5-year periods. It deals with all energy sources and all pillars of energy policy: controlling energy demand, promoting renewable energies, ensuring security of supply, controlling energy costs, balanced development of networks, etc. It makes it possible to build a coherent and credible strategy to decarbonise the French energy mix and to strengthen the country’s energy sovereignty through the exit from fossil fuels. (Source: French draft updated NECP, submitted to the European Commission November 17, 2023). 

Both are closely linked and led by the Ministry in charge – the Ministry of Energy Transition – transferred during the Government reshuffle in January 2024 to the Ministry of Economy. Two dedicated committees – involving various stakeholders (scientists, economic operators, the State, local authorities, associations, etc.) and sectoral experts – met in workshops and working groups to discuss the first hypotheses and levers to be mobilised (see p. 26-27 of the French draft updated NECP). For both documents, several working groups were set on sectorial topics and other cross-cutting issues, gathering four times a year. Representatives from French Local Authorities Associations have also been invited to these working groups. In addition, a public consultation was opened for citizens to provide their feedback; the extent to which this feedback was considered still remains unclear.  

Willingness for dialogue was set in the plans (“Prior to their adoption by decree, the SNBC and EPP projects will be subject to regulatory consultations with stakeholders and the public, in line with the principle of public participation enshrined at constitutional level in France and in European law: consultations under Directive 2001/42/EC, as well as the committees responsible for energy, the High Council for Climate Affairs, the Assembly of Corsica, overseas authorities, the National Council for Assessment of Standards, the regulatory role of the General Secretariat of the Government and the public. This draft integrated national energy and climate plan for France is based on ecological planning, where several citizens’ consultations have been held, in particular on French energy policy.”).  

In line with its goals, the NECPlatform project organised 3 multilevel dialogues in France, focused on the contractual mechanisms between the State and local authorities to finance the ecological transition. The outcome of these dialogues is still forthcoming – the project has been acting as a facilitator and will continue doing so, paving the way for a permanent multi-level dialogue on key energy and climate decisions and implementation after the final draft NECP is submitted (due by June 30, 2024). 

What has already been planned for the upcoming revision of the NECP?  

In France, there are a multitude of ongoing initiatives; yet, as pointed out by media Vert, the Loi Programmation Energie Climat (LPEC), supposed to be voted in July 2023 (presented to the Council of Ministers in February 2024 and censored immediately), is still not there. The French government just announced another consultation for the strategy mid-March, supposed to question citizens on the draft French energy-climate strategy (SFEC), this roadmap intended to further accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades. Although going in the right direction as filling the request to organise multi-level dialogues, it seems to be a step backwards. Seven working groups have been organised in six months in 2023, gathering French MPs, associations and professionals, while other forums and regional COPs are currently held to enable ownership of these issues at the regional and local levels. 

What is France blamed for, then?  

If dialogue has been part of the organised discussion forums, it seems few recommendations were taken into account and stakeholders were consulted rather for the validation of key milestones than in a real co-design effort. What is worrying at this stage, considering the NECP due date, is that the LPEC is not included in the Parliamentary agenda running towards Summer 2024. 

In Romania, NECPlatform partners share the feelings: in the first part of the project (1.5 years), they have tried relentlessly to actively involve local and national authorities in a mutual dialogue for the process of revising and updating the NECP. Four dialogues took place until now, one directly organized by the NECPlatform team, and three others organised by the Ministry of Energy during the public consultation period. 

The dialogue focusing on decarbonisation and energy efficiency seems to have involved more participants (30 organisations and authorities were represented both onsite and through the participation of over 80 online representatives), from Ministries to Municipalities and civil society. Participants have shared issues, concerns and recommendations to achieve the targets, yet most expressed concerns about Romania’s ability to achieve the targets set by this draft NECP. Comments were made on some of the Romanian NECP draft provisions, concluding that the NECP needs to clearly outline how Romania’s targets for the development of renewable energy sources can be met through concrete measures. At the same time, it is important to carry out an analysis that reflects the correlation between energy production and consumption at the national level. The issue of funding needs to be looked at more carefully. There is a lack of magnitude order in the expectation of the need for private/ state/ EU funding to increase installed renewable electricity capacity (in fact for all measures). Furthermore, there is no clarity on the sources of funding. The European Commission’s assessment of the NECP preparation indicates that, in general, Article 11 (on multi-level dialogue) has been poorly implemented. 

This is what is also highlighted in an article released a week ago by EU media Euractiv: Romania delays adoption of Energy and Climate Plan, casts doubt on renewable targets. “The Romanian government will neither adopt its National Integrated Energy and Climate Change Plan before the expected 30 June deadline nor will the country meet the EU’s renewable energy targets”, an energy ministry official said to Euractiv. 

The NECPlatform project reminds that resources are available to engage into meaningful dialogues, with partners ready to support in delivering ambitious plans, especially in the project 6 focus countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal, France and Croatia). 

See where the project stands in supporting 6 EU countries setting up their multi-level climate and energy dialogues: 


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