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|The Lisbon Treaty and Sustainable Energy|
On the 1st of December 2009, Brussels, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, thus ending eight years of struggle and a lengthy process, where each of the EU’s 27 member states ratified it. The Treaty of Lisbon amends the previous EU and EC treaties, but without replacing them. It consists of amendments to the Union’s two main treaties, Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), with the latter being renamed as Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)
While the main principles and objectives of EU environmental policy remain largely unchanged, the Treaty reinforces the EU’s commitment to sustainable development, the fight against climate change, and development of renewable energy sources.
New Part on Energy
context of the establishment and functioning of the internal market
and with regard for the need to preserve and
the environment, Union policy on energy shall aim, in a spirit of solidarity
between Member States, to:
2. Without prejudice to the application of other provisions of the Treaties, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish the measures necessary to achieve the objectives in paragraph 1. Such measures shall be adopted after consultation of the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.
Such measures shall not affect a Member State's right to determine the conditions for exploiting its energy resources, its choice between different energy sources and the general structure of its energy supply, without prejudice to Article 192(2)(c).
3. By way of derogation from paragraph 2, the Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, shall unanimously and after consulting the European Parliament, establish the measures referred to therein when they are primarily of a fiscal nature.
Analyze of the new Energy Article
Increased cooperation on energy has been emerging over several years. The 2007 Spring European Council of Head of States adopted the EU Energy Action Plan for the period 2007-2009 which comprehends several priority actions concerning energy efficiency, use of renewable energies, completion of the EU’s internal market for gas and electricity, and targets for renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate. The European Council has also stressed “the need to enhance security of supply for the EU as well as for each Member State.” It has further called for the “development of a common approach to external energy policy.”
The Lisbon Treaty
introduces a new legal basis, allowing the Union to establish measures
to energy policy. The insertion of the
title in the Lisbon Treaty specifically on energy is a huge step forward
towards the common energy policy. Energy is one of the Union’s
supposed “shared competences” with the Member States. In
brief, national governments would only be able to legislate on policy
areas on which the EU has decided not to.
Decisions on energy
should be taken with normal procedures: proposal by EU Commission,
among EU countries with qualified
majority and in cooperation with the Parliament. This is, however,
limited by maintaining the imperative that EU measures “should
not affect the right of a member state to determine the conditions
for exploiting its energy resources, its choice between different energy
Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, the basic control of national energy policy is partly being transferred from Member States to the EU.
Energy in Other Parts of the Lisbon Treaty
The Energy policy
also includes guaranteeing “security of energy
supply.” The reference to solidarity is strengthened by new text
in the chapter 1, Economic Policy, Article 122 of TFEU stating that:
Lisbon Treaty's Effects on Sustainable Energy
The new provisions of security of energy supply, in art 194 and 122, can also be used to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, if they are chosen as part of the measures to increase security of energy supply.
In conclusion the EU Commission and the other EU institutions have more room to support sustainable energy and energy efficiency with the Lisbon Treaty than before. On the other hand, the support of renewable energy and og energy efficiency are only two of several new aims in the Lisbon Traty (others include promotion of new energy, promotion of internal energy markets, promotion of energy interconnectors), so if the EU insttutions decide to prioritise other aims higher than promotion of sustainable energy, they are equally able to do so with the Lisbon Treaty, just as before.
Note by Dorthe Wolfsgruber and Gunnar Boye Olesen for INFORSE-Europe, December 2010.