Evidence of weak public participation in National Energy and Climate Plans

Posted on April, 20 2023

The EU will not reach climate neutrality by accident nor without thorough planning. National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) are a central strategic tool in this regard, laying out key reforms at national level for achieving climate and energy targets, mobilising crucial investments and reacting to the energy price crisis.
But planning the fundamental reforms that will directly affect the ways of life of millions of European citizens cannot take place in an ivory tower. Given the scale and pace of climate action that is required, citizens and stakeholders must be consulted and participate meaningfully in the elaboration of NECPs – or else society will not consent to the proposed measures.

According to the Governance regulation and the Aarhus Convention, Member States must organise early and effective public consultations prior to the submission of draft and final NECPs. They must also establish a Multilevel Climate and Energy Dialogue to discuss energy and climate policies, including NECPs. However, our country-specific analysis of 23 Member States reveals widespread deficiencies in the application of these public participation rules – less than four months prior to the submission of NECPs.
Two months before the deadline, 14 out of 23 analysed Member States have not started their mandatory public consultation in the National Climate & Energy Plans (NECPs).