Urgent call to strengthen final NECPs updates across 18 EU countries

Climate action| Energy transition

Most Member States have now submitted the draft updates of their National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), and only a few months are left before they are required to submit their final NECP updates (30 June). This update is crucial for Member States to develop national plans that truly accelerate climate action and the energy transition across the EU already in this decade, while protecting people and the environment. 

At this stage, however, the draft NECPs are unfit for that purpose. As first signalled by NGOs, they are insufficient not only to meet the Paris Agreement commitments, but also to implement the (already largely insufficient) EU 2030 climate and energy objectives, which would be in breach of the European Climate Law. These concerns have clearly been emphasised in the Commission’s EU-wide assessment of the draft updated NECPs and confirmed in a letter to NGOs, specifying that “Member States must increase their ambition and implement significant improvements before the submission of their final updated NECPs in June 2024”, taking “full account of the Commission’s recommendations in their preparations”. The latest progress report by the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change (ESABCC), also called on Member States to “urgently adopt and implement national measures to increase the pace of emissions reductions and reverse the declining EU carbon sink,” making explicit reference to the NECPs in that regard. 

NGOs remain concerned that these calls for action could remain unheard. During the latest meeting of European Environment Ministers, no Member State pledged to step up the level of ambition of their final updated NECPs. This is despite the NECPs revision being a point in the ENVI Council’s agenda, despite remarks on the matter by Climate Commissioner Hoekstra, and despite EU countries being legally required by the EU Climate Law to “take the necessary measures at […] national level […] to enable the collective achievement of the climate-neutrality objective”, which the draft NECP updates currently fail to achieve. 

With only a few weeks left before the deadline, this briefing collects some country-specific recommendations to improve the final NECP updates. It aims to provide concise, hands-on inputs on practical steps to improve the NECPs of 18 EU countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. These recommendations – which are by no means exhaustive of what would be required for a NECP to be fit for 1.5°C – were selected on the basis of the most urgent priorities identified by NGOs at the national level. The 20 environmental and climate organisations that drafted these recommendations remain available for any clarification and more detailed exchanges. 

In light of the need – and the legal requirement – for both Member States and the Commission to ensure that the final NECP updates are drastically improved, we urge both Member States and the Commission to take these points into account in their ongoing bilateral discussions