New report calls for drastic improvement of Europe’s National Energy and Climate Plans

Climate action| Energy transition

A coalition of NGOs raises concerns over the current state of the draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) within the European Union as the European Commission is due to present the “State of the Energy Union”. In a scathing assessment, the NGOs have highlighted several significant shortcomings, including a lack of alignment with the EU’s own energy and climate ambitions.

While in some areas the energy and climate transition seems to be moving in the right direction, there is still much to be done for EU countries to align these efforts with the Paris Agreement’s goal.


One of the most worrying aspects highlighted in the assessment is that several countries are not even meeting the minimum EU climate and energy requirements for 2030. Notably, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy, and the Netherlands are failing to meet set EU targets and their national share in cutting emissions to reach an EU-wide target of net 55% emissions reduction by 2030.

This is without mentioning that the EU´s overall climate ambition remains alarmingly off-track with the necessity of keeping citizens safe from dangerous climate impacts. A true commitment to its fair contribution to limiting global warming to 1.5°C should entail significant short-term emission reductions and achieving at least a 65% reduction in gross (or 76% in net) emissions by 2030.

This report starkly highlights the glaring contrast between the urgent demand for accelerated climate action and the sluggish on-ground progress. The European Commission must assert unwavering vigilance in its feedback to Member States, ensuring that on-ground climate action is a genuine and resolute response to the climate crisis.

The findings of this report are a strong invitation to all countries to lay the groundwork and provide clear and ambitious plans and actions that match the magnitude of the challenge still in this decade”, said CAN Europe’s director, Chiara Martinelli.  

The report also demonstrates that Member States are not fully harnessing the potential of a readily available opportunity – energy savings measures. Regrettably, numerous countries have not outlined a sufficient national commitment for energy efficiency, resulting in a substantial shortfall in meeting the EU’s energy efficiency target.

While some positive measures related to energy communities and small-scale rooftop solar panels were identified, several Member States’ contributions are deemed inadequate to meet the EU’s 2030 renewables target. Countries such as Cyprus, Slovenia, and Slovakia have laid out inputs that fall short of expectations, hindering progress towards the 1.5°C trajectory.

Phasing out coal is essential to align with the Paris Agreement, yet some countries have delayed their plans, and coal continues to play a significant role in others. Plans for decommissioning gas infrastructure are lacking, and fossil gas expansion is envisioned in some countries, the NGO’s assessment shows.

“While this assessment exposes the inadequacy of the national climate and energy plans with the needed level of climate action, countries still have eight more months to set things right and prevent a lost decade. 2030 is a first reality-check for climate action and failure to meet this milestone will severely hamper future efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change”, added CAN Europe’s policy expert, Federico Mascolo.

Quotes from national NGOs, contributors to this report:


“Opnieuw dreigt immobilisme door een gebrek aan coördinatie en ambitie: we wachten nog steeds op een geïntegreerd Belgisch klimaatplan. Op vlak van beleid zetten de verschillende deel-plannen stappen voorwaarts, toch blijft er (m.n in Vlaanderen) een gapende kloof met onze doelstellingen voor 2030 en de noodzaak van een sociale klimaattransitie.” Yelter Bollen, beleidsexpert klimaat, Bond Beter Leefmilieu

“We’re once again left waiting for the Belgian NECP, pushed into deadlock by a lack of coordination and ambition. Although the various plans by the federal and regional governments have improved since 2019, a deep gap remains (especially in Flanders) with the 2030 targets and the policies needed for an ambitious just transition’. Yelter Bollen, policy officer on climate, Bond Beter Leefmilieu

“Le PNEC doit refléter l’engagement de nos gouvernements régionaux et fédéral à respecter l’accord de Paris. Toutes les entités doivent donc faire leur juste part pour contribuer aux objectifs européens. Ce n’est pas encore le cas. La Belgique a besoin d’un PNEC ambitieux et robuste, qui aborde tous les aspects de la transition environnementale et sociale, y compris son financement.” Eva Joskin, chargée de mission climat-énergie, Canopea

“The NECP must reflect the commitment of our regional and federal governments to the Paris Agreement. All entities must therefore do their fair share to contribute to the European objectives. This is not yet the case. Belgium needs an ambitious and robust NECP that addresses all aspects of the environmental and social transition, including its financing.” Eva Joskin, climate & energy policy officer, Canopea


The good news is that France’s draft action plan includes more ambitious climate targets. The bad news is that the policies and measures listed so far in the plan will only take us halfway there and France does not yet have a long term financing strategy to follow through. We call on France to quickly submit a more detailed and action-oriented plan to the European Commission. Anne Bringault, programme director, Réseau Action Climat-France

La bonne nouvelle, c’est que le projet de plan d’action de la France inclut des objectifs climatiques plus ambitieux. La mauvaise nouvelle, c’est que les politiques et les mesures énumérées jusqu’à présent dans le plan ne nous mèneront qu’à mi-chemin, et que la France n’a pas encore de stratégie de financement à long terme pour concrétiser ces objectifs. Nous appelons la France à soumettre rapidement à la Commission européenne un plan plus détaillé et axé sur l’action. Anne Bringault, directrice du programme, Réseau Action Climat-France


Denmark’s draft NECP update is not compatible with a 1.5°C trajectory. It must be updated to present an improved 2030 climate economy-wide target and meet the minimum EU requirements for climate effort-sharing and LULUCF. The current NECP update is a missed opportunity, and the ambition must be increased! Dan Belusa, Policy advisor, Danish 92 Group

Udkastet til Danmarks opdaterede NECP er ikke kompatibel med 1,5° gradersmålet. Udkastet skal opdateres, så det præsenterer et forbedret 2030 klimamål for hele økonomien og opfylder EU’s minimumskrav til byrdefordeling og LULUCF. Den nuværende NECP-opdatering er en forspildt mulighed, og ambitionen skal øges! Dan Belusa, Policy advisor, 92-gruppen



„The Hungarian National Energy and Climate Plan needs to be significantly improved. A long-term, thorough, goal-oriented and well-supported program is needed for the energetic renovation of Hungarian apartments. The proportion of renewable energies must be increased, especially in the field of wind farms and energy communities, by establishing appropriate regulation and support. And construction of new gas power plants completely contradicts the energy transition and decarbonization.” stated Alexa Botár, climate and energy program manager of the FOE Hungary.

„Jelentősen javítani kell a magyar Nemzeti Energia- és Klímaterven. A magyar lakások energetikai felújítására hosszútávú, alapos, célorientált és jól támogatott program szükséges. Növelni kell a megújuló energiák arányát, különösen a szélerőművek és energiaközösségek terén, megfelelő szabályozás és támogatás kialakításával. Az új gázerőművek építése pedig teljességgel ellentmond az energiaátmenetnek, a dekarbonizációnak.” jelentette ki Botár Alexa, a Magyar Természetvédők Szövetsége éghajlat és energia programvezetője.


“Even though the Czech draft NECP is an improvement on its 2019 version, it fails to reach the necessary ambition for sufficient climate action. It sets an unnecessarily low target for renewables, relies on an unrealistic scenario of large-scale expansion of nuclear power, and lacks specific and credible measures for many targets. The draft has also not been subject of a meaningful and fair public participation process. In a nutshell, there are a lot of areas for improvement if the Czech NECP is not to become another missed opportunity.” Štěpán Vizi, Climate Policy Expert, Centre for Transport and Energy

“Přestože český návrh NECP představuje zlepšení oproti původní verzi z roku 2019, rozhodně nedosahuje ambice, která by z hlediska klimatické politiky byla potřebná. Nastavuje nepřiměřeně nízký cíl pro obnovitelné zdroje energie, spoléhá na nerealistický scénář rozsáhlé expanze jaderné energetiky a pro dosažení mnoha cílů chybí konkrétní a přesvědčivá opatření. Je zde tedy mnoho prostoru pro zlepšení, pokud se z plánu nemá stát další promarněná příležitost.” Štěpán Vizi, expert na klimatickou politiku, Centrum pro dopravu a energetiku


Revizija Hrvatskog NECP-a prilika je da se u najboljoj mogućoj mjeri iskoristi potencijal koji Hrvatska ima u obnovljivim izvorima energije, naročito suncu, vjetru i geotermalnoj energiji. Pozitivno je što je u revidirani NECP uključeno dijeljenje energije i energetske zajednice, no još uvijek postoji znatan prostor za povećanje ambicija čime bi se ubrzalo postizanje klimatske neutralnosti Europe do 2050. godine. Maja Bratko, starija stručna suradnica, DOOR

The revision of the Croatian NECP is an opportunity to make the best possible use of the potential that Croatia has in renewable energy sources, especially sun, wind and geothermal energy. It is positive that energy sharing and the energy communities are included in the revised NECP, but there is still considerable room for increasing ambitions, which would accelerate the achievement of climate neutrality in Europe by 2050. Maja Bratko, senior expert, DOOR

Sada, kada  je prvi korak u reviziji hrvatskog NECP-a završen, ostao je gorak okus za mnoge dionike koji su sudjelovali u procesu, a mnogo više za one koji su revidirani nacrt vidjeli samo na internetu. Trenutačni nacrt revidiranog NECP-a nije mnogo drugačiji od njegove nerevidirane verzije. Još uvijek se postavljaju ciljevi za postizanje samo obveznog minimuma, ali čak i uz te minimalne ciljeve, vidljivi su nedostaci u financijskom dijelu. Prethodna verzija nije povezivala određene mjere s određenim izvorima financiranja, a ova verzija pati od iste greške. Unatoč nekoliko prijedloga da se uključi neka vrsta jasnog sustava praćenja provedbe mjera, ovoj verziji još uvijek nedostaju informacije o tome kako će se napredak NECP-a mjeriti, pratiti i izvještavati. Miljenka Kuhar, izvršna direktorica, DOOR

As the first step in the revision of the Croatian NECP finished, it left a bitter taste for many stakeholders who participated in the process and much more for those who only saw the revised draft online. The current draft of the revised NECP is not much different than it was its unrevised version, targets are still being set to reach only obligatory minimum, but even with these minimal targets, financial gaps are visible. In the same way, the previous version did not link specific measures to specific funding sources, this version suffers from the same fault. Despite several suggestions to include some kind of clear monitoring system for the implementation of the measures, this version still lacks information on how the NECP progress will be measured, monitored, and reported. Miljenka Kuhar, executive director, DOOR


The Polish government has denied ambitious climate policy for the last few years. Amendment of NECP is a chance for a change. Polish society is willing to develop renewable energy much faster if the benefits of it – such as lower energy prices- are also delivered. Poland can’t wait for yearsonly for big projects, such as nuclear power stations or offshore wind. Policy which supports energy cooperatives, local authorities energy clusters and does not hamper wind, solar and biogas should be the backbone of this amendment.  Ph.D. Wojciech Szymalski, ISD Foundation president, Poland

Polski rząd przez ostatnie lata odżegnywał się od ambitnej polityki klimatycznej. Nowelizacja KPEiK jest szansą na zmianę. Polskie społeczeństwo jest skłonne rozwijać energetykę odnawialną znacznie szybciej, jeśli korzyści z tego płynące – takie jak niższe ceny energii – również zostaną zapewnione. Polska nie może czekać latami tylko na duże projekty, takie jak elektrownie jądrowe czy morska energetyka wiatrowa. Polityka wspierająca spółdzielnie energetyczne, samorządowe klastry energetyczne i nieutrudniająca rozwoju energetyki wiatrowej, słonecznej i biogazowej powinna być podstawą tej nowelizacji. dr Wojciech Szymalski, prezes Fundacji Instytut na rzecz Ekorozwoju.


A versão draft apresentada em junho ainda está longe de ser finalizada, com setores em que faltam projeções, medidas que pouco acrescentam à versão anterior e com algumas metas que não cumprem os requisitos mínimos europeus. A principal diferença do PNEC de 2019, é o aumento de capacidade instalada de renováveis para produzir hidrogénio principalmente para exportação, um processo ineficiente e injustificado. Com o potencial de Portugal para acelerar a descarbonização, há uma grande melhoria a fazer até à versão final. Bárbara Maurício, analista de políticas de clima e energia, ZERO

The draft version presented in June is far from finalised, with sectors that lack projections, measures that add little to the previous version and some targets that don’t even comply with the minimum European requirements. The major difference from the 2019 NECP is the increase in installed renewable capacity to produce hydrogen mainly for export, a highly inefficient and unjustified process. Considering Portugal’s potential to accelerate decarbonization, there is more room for improvement before the final version is presented. Bárbara Maurício, climate and energy policy officer, ZERO


‘’Slovenski NEPN si zadaja bistveno prenizke cilje znižanja emisij toplogrednih plinov, na področju obnovljivih virov energije in zmanjšanja rabe energije pa ne dosega niti minimuma, ki ga zahteva EU. Predvsem pa mora Slovenija osnutek načrta nemudoma dopolniti  z manjkajočim poglavjem ukrepov. Prostora za bistvene izboljšave je ogromno, največ potenciala tako za dodatno zmanjšanje rabe energije, kot za znižanje emisij, je v industrijskem in prometnem sektorju.’’ Taj Zavodnik, okoljska organizacija Focus

“Slovenia’s NECP sets significantly too low targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and falls short of the minimum required by the EU in the area of renewable energy and energy use reduction. Above all, Slovenia needs to urgently complete the draft plan with the missing policies and measures chapter. There is plenty of room for significant improvement, with the greatest potential for energy savings and further emissions reductions coming from the industrial and transport sectors.” Taj Zavodnik, Focus, Association for Sustainable Development


“Este borrador actualizado repasa el camino para seguir avanzando hacia una economía descarbonizada. Sin embargo, el objetivo climático global y el objetivo de eficiencia energética siguen siendo insuficientes. España tiene 8 meses para revisar estos objetivos, ofrecer amplio apoyo regulatorio y financiero a las medidas positivas, y prescindir de las medidas que perpetúan los combustibles fósiles, incluido el gas.” Ana Márquez, técnico de clima y energía en SEO/BirdLife.

‘This updated draft reviews the path to continue moving towards a decarbonized economy. However, the global climate goal and the energy efficiency goal remain insufficient. Spain has 8 months to review these objectives, offer broad regulatory and financial support for positive measures and leave out measures that perpetuate fossil fuels, including gas.’ Ana Márquez, climate and energy officer at SEO/BirdLife.


Το προσχέδιο ΕΣΕΚ έχει αυξημένη φιλοδοξία σε σχέση με το προηγούμενο αλλά εξακολουθεί να αποτυγχάνει να καταστεί ο οδηγός για τη συγκράτηση της ανόδου της θερμοκρασίας κάτω από τους 1,5°C ενώ η κλιματική κρίση βαθαίνει. Με σημαντικά κενά σε ό,τι αφορά την απεξάρτηση από το ορυκτό αέριο, την εξοικονόμηση ενέργειας καθώς και τη δημόσια συμμετοχή υπάρχει πολύ χώρος αλλά λιγοστός χρόνος για βελτίωση. Αλέξανδρος Μουλόπουλος, υπεύθυνος τομέα κλίματος και ενέργειας, WWF Ελλάς

The draft NECP has increased ambition compared to the previous one but still fails to become the driver for keeping the temperature rise below 1.5°C while the climate crisis deepens. With significant gaps in areas like fossil gas phase-out, energy savings as well as public participation, there is much room but little time for improvement. Alexandros Moulopoulos, climate and energy sector lead, WWF Greece


‘With Ireland’s draft NECP yet to materialise months after the deadline, it is now vital that the cycle of turning up ‘late to the party’ when it comes to meeting deadlines for crucial climate planning is broken, and that plan-making becomes more coherent, transparent and participative.’ Dr Ciara Brennan, Director, Environmental Justice Network Ireland


“100 Tage nach Ablauf der Einreichungsfrist für die neuen Entwürfe der Nationalen Energie- und Klimapläne (NECP) gibt es immer noch keine Informationen über den deutschen NECP. Das ist sehr enttäuschend. Deutschland als bevölkerungsreichster Mitgliedstaat und größter CO2-Verursacher in der EU muss unverzüglich seinen NECP vorlegen, da dieser für die Bewertung des Gesamtfortschritts der EU bei der Erreichung der gemeinsamen Klimaziele und für die Ermittlung von Lücken und Maßnahmen, die möglicherweise angepasst werden müssen, von entscheidender Bedeutung ist. Sylwia Andralojc-Bodych & Charly Heberer, Referent:innen für EU-Klimapolitik, Germanwatch

“100 days after the NECP submission deadline there is still no information about the German National Energy and Climate Plan. It’s strongly disappointing. Germany, as the most populated member state and the biggest carbon polluter in the EU, needs to immediately submit its National Energy and Climate Plan as it is crucial for assessing the overall EU progress towards our common climate goals and identifying shortcomings and policies that might need to be adjusted.” Sylwia Andralojc-Bodych & Charly Heberer, Senior Advisors- EU Climate Policy, Germanwatch.



  1. The European Commission has until December 2023, to come up with its own assessment and recommendations to the Member States to bring these plans in line with the EU’s climate and energy legislation. Countries are held to submit their final National Energy and Climate plans by June 2024, plans that cover the period 2021-2030.
  2. About the Report: CAN Europe received input from more than 30 national organizations to compile this report on the NECP process in 25 Member States. This report presents an initial assessment by NGOs of the NECP update process and, where possible, the submitted draft NECP updates. It is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis of all aspects of the plans but provides a first overview of some of the main issues that will need to be addressed in the European Commission’s recommendations in December 2023. The report is divided into two parts: an overview that includes general recommendations and provides a bird’s-eye assessment of the main issues analyzed, and country factsheets highlighting key issues to improve each plan. The aim is to ensure that these NECP updates significantly enhance climate action and the energy transition at the national level.
  3. Governments have the legal obligation to submit their draft national energy and climate plans on time, but by October 23rd, only 16 out of 27 Member States had done so, and, disappointingly, several of these submissions closely resembled their 2019 NECPs without meaningful updates. Additionally, the NGOs criticize the lack of early and effective public consultations, as stipulated by the Governance Regulation and the Aarhus Convention. The compliance with these requirements varied from poor to non-existent, necessitating significant improvements in the public participation process.
  4. The 16 countries that submitted their NECP by 23rd of October: Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
  5. Find out more about NECPs: