Energy Union and Climate Action: Driving Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy

The Commission today presents a package of measures to accelerate the transition to low-carbon emissions in all sectors of the economy in Europe

The Commission is working to keep the EU competitive as the global social economic model changes following the impetus to move towards a modern and low-carbon economy set by the Paris Agreement on climate change. Today’s proposals set clear and fair guiding principles to Member States to prepare for the future and keep Europe competitive. This is part and parcel of the Energy Union and a forward-looking Climate Change policy.

In 2014 the EU agreed to a clear commitment: to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions of at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels across all sectors of the economy. Today’s proposals present binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets for Member States from 2021-2030 for the transport, buildings, agriculture, waste, land-use and forestry sectors as contributors to EU climate action (see Fact sheet MEMO/16/2499 and Fact sheet MEMO/16/2496). The new framework is based on the principles of fairness, solidarity, cost-effectiveness and environmental integrity. All Member States are concerned, as they will be in the forefront in deciding how to implement the measures to meet the agreed 2030 target. The Commission is also presenting a strategy on low-emission mobility setting the course for the development of EU-wide measures on low and zero-emission vehicles and alternative low-emissions fuels (see Fact sheet MEMO/16/2497).

Vice-President in charge of the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said:”The Energy Union is delivering. With the proposed reform of the Emissions Trading System last year and today’s proposal on greenhouse gas emissions targets for Member States, we anchor the 2030 Energy and Climate framework in legislation. We are also setting our transport system firmly on the path towards zero-emissions. Today’s package shows that we are mobilising all our policies towards the competitive, circular and low-carbon economy that we promised in the Energy Union Strategy”.

Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: “This strategy is more than about transport and emissions. It should be seen as yet another element of our efforts to modernise European economy and strengthen our Internal Market. It defines key priorities on the way to low-emission mobility and gives clear guidance for future investors. It contributes to our goals which do not change over time – we want to create conditions for our industry to be more competitive and able to provide quality jobs.”

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “The EU has an ambitious emissions reduction target, one I am convinced we can achieve through the collective efforts of all Member States. The national binding targets we are proposing are fair, flexible and realistic. They set the right incentives to unleash investments in sectors like transport, agriculture, buildings and waste management. With these proposals, we are showing that we have done our homework and that we keep our promises.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “Transport accounts for a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and is a main cause of air pollution. The transition to low-emission mobility is therefore essential to reach the EU’s ambitious climate objectives and to improve the quality of life in our cities. It is also an opportunity to modernise the EU’s economy and keep Europe’s industry competitive. The Strategy we adopted today presents a roadmap towards low-emission mobility and will give an impetus to that shift.”

In the EU, efforts have already started to align private investments with climate and resource-efficiency objectives. The EU financial instruments are significant contributors to climate funding. Over 50% of the investments approved so far are climate relevant. As part of the Investment Plan for Europe, the European Fund for Strategic Investments is on track to deliver on mobilising at least EUR 315 billion in additional investment in the real economy by mid-2018. In addition, the Commission actively works to ensure that the EU budget spending is aligned with climate objectives. At least 20% of the current EU budget is explicitly climate related.


In October 2014, the Heads of State or Government of the EU set a binding economy-wide domestic emissions reduction target of at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990. All sectors of the economy should contribute to achieving these emission reductions. To do so in a cost-effective manner, the industrial and power sectors covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) will need to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030 compared to 2005. Other sectors of the economy as transport, buildings, agriculture, waste, land-use and forestry would need to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to 2005.

Together with last year’s proposal for the revision of the EU Emission Trading System (ETS) and today’s climate-related legislative proposals will steer Europe’s low-carbon transition and respond to the commitments made by the European Union countries under the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Commission will start working on the Action Plan on low-emission mobility to present the remaining initiatives without delay. By the end of the year, the Commission intends also to present further initiatives on renewables, energy efficiency and internal energy market which form part of the Energy Union Strategy.

More information:

DG CLIMA news – website (including legal documents)

The text of the European Strategy for low-emission mobility – Factsheet and the supporting analysis can be found here.

Fact sheet: Questions and answers on the Commission’s proposal on binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction for Member States (2021-2030)

Fact sheet: Questions and answers on the proposal to integrate the land use sector into the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework

Fact sheet: Questions and answers on the European Strategy for low-emission mobility


European Commission, press release, 2016-07-20.


European Commission
European Union


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