The EU’s first “State of the Energy Union” was published by the European Commission on 18 November, the report is accompanied by a whole suite of studies in areas from energy security to climate action. The package sets out achievements to date and legislative proposals to come in 2016. References to the need to accelerate zero emissions were notably absent as was picked by other organisations as well 

No surprises in the headline of the European Commission’s press release on 18 November: “The Energy Union on track to deliver”. The Commission reports “much progress” since the adoption of an Energy Union strategy in February this year. Moreover, all the main legislative proposals to realise an Energy Union for Europe – and with that, a long-term transition to a low-carbon economy – will be on the table by the end of next year. 2016 will be “a year of delivery”, the Commission says.

It gives plenty of examples of what “much progress” means, across all five dimensions of the Energy Union. They include: signing off on the first energy projects for funding from the Juncker Plan, completion of an underground power line between France and Spain that doubles their interconnection capacity to 2.8GW, proposals to revise the famous A to G energy label for white goods, and the launch of a new Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan to coordinate European energy R&D. Meanwhile, the latest figures from the European Environment Agency show that the EU comfortably exceeded its 20% by 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction target six years early – in 2014, emissions were 23% below 1990 levels, while the economy grew by 46% over the same period.

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