In the second half of 2020, Germany will assume the presidency in the Council of the European Union and will guide consultations in the bodies of the Council for six months. In a discussion organised by Eurogas, Luis Manuel Schultz, Energy Attaché at the Permanent Representation of Germany to the EU shared the focus points of the incoming German Presidency, that are likely to dominate the energy agenda for the rest of this year.
“Regarding the overall priorities, recovery will be still one of the main topics,” commented Mr Schultz emphasising that Germany supported the Green Deal before the outbreak of the virus and still regards it as a core part of the recovery plan and strategies to improve European competitiveness and the resilience of the industry.
As for the climate targets Germany also wants to speed up the adoption of the European Climate Law, proposed by the Commission to set a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“We want to work to get the decision of the Council to get climate neutral by 2050 as law as soon as possible and we will see how far we can get with the 2030 targets, although it is not an easy task now,” said Mr Shultz.
Despite the extraordinary circumstances and challenges of the past months, the main priorities of the German presidency are unchanged. Hydrogen and Offshore wind are the main priorities on the energy agenda. Both can contribute significantly to the recovery and both will require major investments in the following years. Germany will encourage regional cooperation in scaling up offshore wind, which holds great potential in Europe and also contributes to the security of supply.
“We are looking forward to the offshore energy strategy of the Commission and our goal is to have Council conclusions in December,” stated Mr Shultz.
The other priority topic is hydrogen as the decarbonisation of the gas system is essential to achieve the 2050 climate targets. Germany is counting on the strategy of the Commission in this regard as well to see a comprehensive overview of the stakeholders and to start the deliberation process. One major task of the presidency highlighted by Luis Manuel Schultz is to get everyone on board. As for now, some member states have already published their hydrogen roadmap, others – like Germany – are still drafting it, but all in all, there is a diverging preparedness and engagement across Europe.
“If you want to have a European approach and not to end up with not 27 different strategies on hydrogen, we need to work on getting every onboard and this might take a bit more time,” underlined Mr Schultz.
Other areas that are also in the focus of the incoming German presidency are the energy system integration strategy, the review of the 2030 goals or the reduction of methane emissions.
The European energy system proved to be prepared and survived the challenges of the virus without major disruption. However, depending on the evolution of the coronavirus, Germany might pick up the issue of risk preparedness and security of supply if it’s necessary.