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Assessing ambitions: Commission’s recommendations for Bulgaria and Poland to achieve climate goals

The European Commission has published its assessments of the draft updated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) of Bulgaria and Poland, which include recommendations on where these 2 countries should raise their ambitions in line with the agreed EU targets for 2030.

NECPs are key instruments to deliver on the EU’s 2030 energy and climate goals, outlining national contributions and key measures to be taken at the national level so that EU countries can meet their commitments under recently agreed legislation to achieve the European Green Deal.

In December, in a communication assessing the aggregated impact of the draft NECPs, the Commission found that the cumulative impact of the drafts is not yet sufficient to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, as required under the so-called Fit for 55 legislation.

Today, the Commission has reiterated its call on all EU countries to enhance their efforts on greenhouse gas emissions reductions and better prepare for an increased uptake of renewables and improvement of energy efficiency measures. Additional measures are also encouraged to empower consumers, improve energy security and stimulate the competitiveness of European industry.

Bulgaria

In particular, regarding Bulgaria, the Commission has welcomed its ambitious goals when it comes to renewable energy targets, energy efficiency contributions, strengthening the country’s security of gas supply, planned provisions on energy poverty and vulnerable customers and measures on N2O from agricultural soils, as well as on methane from enteric fermentation and manure management in agriculture.

At the same time, the Commission found that the plan lacks clear explanations of the steps intended to complete the internal energy market and achieve its full liberalisation, particularly in the gas sector; on research, innovation, competitiveness and skills, the plan contains mostly qualitative targets and lacks an estimated breakdown of R&I investments specific to the energy sector for 2030 and 2050; the draft plan does not provide projections to show if Bulgaria is on track to meet its national targets on GHG emissions reduction; on adaptation to climate change, the draft updated NECP does not contain adequate analysis of the relevant climate vulnerabilities and risks to achieving the national objectives, targets and contributions and the policies and measures in the individual dimensions of the Energy Union; the plan also lacks a clear analysis of the impacts of the climate and energy transition on employment and skills, as well as policies and measures to achieve a just transition; finally, the draft NECP provides little detail on the process followed to ensure early public participation in the decision-making process.

Poland

Regarding Poland, the Commission noted an increased ambition in the reduction of GHG emissions and it welcomed new measures to promote sustainable urban mobility, the high level of ambition when it comes to energy sovereignty, the planned measures for a just coal phase-out and the importance of supporting consumer empowerment, energy communities, demand response for balancing the energy system and the penetration of renewable energy sources.

As with regards to the recommendations, more ambitious targets are needed for the decarbonisation of the building sector, increased energy efficiency ambitions, more in line with the 2030 targets and more attention to research, innovation and competitiveness. Moreover, the plan does not contain adequate analysis of the relevant climate vulnerabilities and risks to achieving the national objectives, targets and contributions. And, on achieving a just transition, the plan does neither provide an analysis of the impact of the transition on employment and skills, nor an assessment of the distributional effects.

All these recommendations should be taken into account by the Member States when preparing their final updated NECPs, which are due by 30 June 2024.

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