Energy policies after the EU elections


Estimated time of reading: ~ 4 minutes

Elections for the European Parliament will take place on June 6–9, 2024, and will decide the political balance within the EU for the next five years. The potential outcome of the vote and the political majority that will emerge after the elections will have a huge impact on many issues in future EU discussions: energy and the green transition will be, for sure, one of the most important topics on the agenda. All of the main European political families have focused on energy in their electoral programmes.

The European Popular Party (EPP) notes that “the European project was built on energy and with energy,” as after the Second World War, “we chose to integrate our coal and steel production to rebuild our economies.” Since then, “we have never stopped building our success together”, towards greater energy integration that led to” greater prosperity.” “That is why our economies need continued access to secure, efficient, and sustainable energy,” the EPP underlines in its programme. The Populars believe that energy “is not just a commodity, it is a vital asset” and for this reason, as the war in Ukraine clearly shows, “we must finally build a true Energy Union that ensures our energy supply cannot be blackmailed, that citizens can afford their bills, and that gives our businesses a true competitive advantage in the economy of the future.” The EPP group thus wants the new European Commission to work towards an EU less dependent on geopolitical rivals such as Russia, because “dependence is a constant threat to our security and competitiveness.” At the same time, the European Union must build resilience “by creating secure and competitive value chains to bring the production and processing of certain strategic materials inside the EU and closer to our markets.” In this context, the EPP also advocates for a balanced approach to energy policy, prioritising both environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness, as the group supports renewable energy development but also considers nuclear power and market-based solutions as part of the best equation for the EU.

The Party of European Socialists (PES) looks more focused on climate change and its link with energy and economic growth. For the group, “social justice and climate justice are interconnected,” as the most vulnerable are paying the highest price for the climate emergency. For this reason, climate neutrality “must be a force for social progress,” and the EU needs to adapt to a new reality. In the electoral programme, PES argues that it will work to implement a Green Deal “with a red heart, allying social and ecological policies.” “We will continue to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, to be climate neutral by 2050 at the latest, by achieving strong EU 2040 climate targets. Our ultimate objective is to reach a completely renewable and clean energy mix, securing national and European interests,” the PES document states. In this way, the Socialists stand for the creation of a “a social Energy union” because energy “should be affordable for everyone”,  and energy poverty must come to an end. According to the PES, there’s a need for an Energy Union based on green technologies “to produce more energy in Europe and reduce our imports,” and this includes hydrogen in its various forms, as well as investment in cross-border energy infrastructure.

What about other groups? For the European liberal parties, particularly the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE), the EU should pursue the transition to a clean energy future with a strong focus on renewables. The European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) maintains a similar stance to other parties, but recognises the challenges faced by countries and regions that depend on traditional energy sources like coal mining, thus advocating for additional support for these subjects during the energy transition. The ECR also tends to be skeptical of overly centralised EU control over energy policy.

Written by: Francesco Marino

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