National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) are the new framework within which EU Member States have to plan, in an integrated manner, their climate and energy objectives, targets, policies and measures to the European Commission.

The proposed Governance Regulation, within which the NECP framework sits, consolidates the existing patchwork of not only planning obligations but also obligations for monitoring and reporting Member States have under the different pieces of EU legislation across energy, climate and other Energy Union related policy areas.

Countries will have to develop NECPs on a ten year rolling basis, with an update halfway through the implementation period. The NECPs covering the first period from 2021 to 2030 will have to ensure that the Union’s 2030 targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, renewable energy, energy efficiency and electricity interconnection are met.

The system is built on a so called ‘iterative process’ between each Member States and the Commission. This means that if the Commission see that a country has not pledged high enough contributions in its draft NECP (or update) to deliver towards the EU targets, or if at any (check) point in time a country is falling off track in delivering towards those targets, it can issue recommendations to the Member State and ask them to fall back in line.

In terms of overall targets and objectives, EU’s sectorial climate and energy legislation sets the minimum ambition level the NECPs are required to deliver towards. Member States are however fully entitled to design more ambitious plans. This is crucial, as none of these targets are ambitious enough for the EU to deliver on its commitments under the Paris Agreement.


Crucial in this context is how countries interpret the objective of developing an NECP. For CAN Europe, it is important that countries seize the opportunity the development of an NECP brings, to cover for existing gaps in national legislation, and pave the way for higher ambition.

For CAN Europe it is important that all countries in their NECP clearly specify how it, in addition to delivering towards the dimensions of the Energy Union, is contributing to the country’s fulfilment of the Paris Agreements long term objective. All countries should also give clear indications that the NECP is consistent with an ambitious long term strategy towards 2050.

All NECPs should also, given the current level of ambition of all EU climate and energy policy is too low to ensure delivery towards the Paris Agreement long term objectives, include a robust and specific process for how ambition in the NECP will be scaled up over time and ensure each update of the NECP to be more ambitious than the previous one.


On NECPs/Paris Agreement compatibility

IDDRI, 2017: Embedding the logic of the Paris Agreement into the new Regulation on Governance of the Energy Union

Ecologic, 2017: Happy Birthday, Paris Agreement! Here is how the EU will be celebrating

On long term strategies/national climate laws

WWF, 2017: Maximiser project

IDDRI, 2017: Developing 2050 decarbonization strategies in the EU: Insights on good practice from national experiences

IDDRI, 2016: 2050 low-emission pathways: domestic benefits and methodological insights - Lessons from the DDPP

Ecologic, 2017: "Paris Compatible" Governance: long-term policy frameworks to drive transformational change

Ecologic, 2017: EU Climate Policies for the 21st Century. The Case for a Strong EU Long-term Target and a Robust Review

On a carbon budget approach and negative emissions

Ecologic, 2018: EU Greenhouse Gas Emission Budget. Implications for EU Climate Policies

The Greens/EFA & Ecologi, 2018: A Climate Law for Europe

Fern, 2017: How the EU Governance Regulation can help achieve negative emissions http://www.fern.org/publications/briefing-note/how-eu-governance-regulation-can-help-achieve-negative-emissions

Ecologic, 2017: EU climate policies: friend, foe or bystander to forest restoration and carbon sinks? EU Climate Governance for restoring degraded forests

On public/stakeholder participation in the NECP process

Client Earth, 2018: Public participation as part of the EU Climate Governance Regulation could help transition to a cleaner, more efficient energy future

Energy Cities and ClientEarth, 2017: Briefing on the on the public participation provisions within the Energy Union Governance Regulation

Latest Publications

See All: Climate & Energy Targets