Energy and the next European Commission


Estimated time of reading: ~ 4 minutes

What can we expect from the EU’s energy policies after the 2024 European elections? It is hard to answer such a question, as the dust has yet to settle down and the political balance in both Brussels and Strasbourg has yet to be defined. The long-anticipated rise of the far-right in the elections has arrived, but not with the strength that many observers expected before the vote. As a consequence, the political deal in the European Parliament that supported Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission in the last five years could be renovated in the next legislature, as the European Popular Party (EPP), the Social Democratic Party (S&D), and the Liberals (Renew) have a 400-seat majority, well beyond the 361 threshold in the assembly. Still, a push towards the right, to the European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR) or the Greens, can solidify the next Commission, presumably under von der Leyen’s second term as president. The choice in this case will have a huge impact on the future energy and climate policies in the EU, at least for the next five years.

Von der Leyen already stated her willingness to work with part of the ECR group, in particular the Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni and the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy-FDI) party. In this perspective, many of the green projects promoted in the past legislature and, generally speaking, a more rightward-leaning European Parliament like the one that emerged after the vote on the 9th of June could make it harder to pass ambitious climate policies on the EU level. While the right gained seats in the European Parliament, it is important to underline that many member states nowadays have center-right or right governments, and thus the conversation in Brussels will generally be influenced by nationalist reasoning. This could lead to a less ambitious agenda on the green transition, with a more populistic discourse in and out of the European Parliament and the EU Commission. It is easy to predict that with such a dynamic, there will be more difficulties in reaching the 2040 EU climate target, a shift needed to steer the EU towards the 2050 net zero emissions target. Getting a complete vision of the potential evolution within the European Parliament and thus the new European Commission is impossible without a look at the different groups’s manifestos. The right-wing ECR explained that the group will “prioritize the implementation of existing legislative requirements… before considering any new regulations” and also referred to reviewing “the more problematic objectives” and “negative impacts” of “green” policies, and all these lead to the assumption that the ECR might support decisions to weaken the existing climate goals in the EU. At the same time, the center-right EPP says the group is “clearly committed” to existing targets, which include the 2030 and 2050 goals and were also decided by the political family, but it does not mention the potential 2040 emission plans. In contrast, it is important to highlight that groups such as Socialists & Democrats and Renew Europe have backed more ambitious emissions targets, supporting the proposed 90% goal for 2040. Finally, the European Green Party has proposed a “revised EU climate law” in which the 2030 target goes well beyond the current 55% goal, achieving net zero by 2040. The future composition of the EU Commission and the majority that will back the European executive will shape the next policies on energy and climate.

Written by: Francesco Marino

Related Articles

Back to Top