The Luxembourgish EU Presidency to play decisive role at COP 21

Luxembourgish Presidency
Luxembourgish Presidency
European Union 2015

Publish date: July 7, 2015

This month Luxembourg took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which it will retain until 31 December 2015. Despite the fact that the Luxembourgish Presidency will face the task of navigating the Union through the ongoing crises in Greece and the Mediterranean, it has also set itself an ambitious agenda in the fields of climate change and energy policy. In particular the Luxembourgish Presidency will be taking on a lead role in the preparation of the EU’s engagement strategy at the decisive UN Climate Summit, COP 21, in Paris.

The Luxembourgish Presidency will play a crucial role in the preparation of the EU’s COP 21 negotiating mandate. As a leader in climate action, the EU should call for an ambitious, legally-binding Paris agreement, featured by a compliance mechanism and measures supportive of the deployment of key climate mitigation technologies, such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).” said Jonas Helseth, Director at Bellona Europa.

The Presidency’s priorities in the fields of climate change and energy policy will center around two key developments: 1) the implementation of initiatives under the Energy Union Strategy, and 2) the preparation of the Union’s position for COP 21. We take a closer look at the tasks and responsibilities the Presidency will be taking on.

Delivering the ‘Summer Package’

The first key responsibility of the Luxembourg Presidency will be the delivery of the so-called ‘Summer Package’, which is expected on 15 July 2015. The package will include a number of policy initiatives, including a finalised ETS reform proposal, a consultative communication on Electricity Market Design, a consultative communication on Retail Markets, and a legislative proposal for the revision of the Energy Labelling Directive. The Luxembourgish Presidency will be in charge of facilitating a common position on the above issues among all 28 Member States.

Facilitating the EU’s COP 21 negotiating position

While the European Commission will be representing the EU at the UN Climate Summit next December, it will be the task of the Luxembourgish Presidency to facilitate the adoption of a negotiating mandate acceptable to all 28 EU Member States. The EU’s COP 21 position will be finalised on 18 September in the Environment Council Conclusions.

Initiating work on the Energy Union

Importantly, the Presidency will chair the first debates on the Commission’s upcoming proposal for Governance of the Energy Union, as well as the first Annual State of the Energy Union Report. The Presidency will also be tasked with facilitating a common position on the Energy Council Conclusions, expected on 26 November, which will seek to coordinate the energy and climate policies of the 28 Member States.

Boosting security of supply

Moreover, given the build-up of momentum around the issue of energy security over the past year, the Presidency will work on a number of policy and legislative proposals, to be delivered in the autumn as part of the so-called ‘Gas Package’.  In particular, the Luxembourgish Presidency will have to facilitate a common position in Council on the legislative proposal on the revision of the Security of Gas Supply Regulation. The Gas Package will also include an LNG and Storage Strategy and a Heating and Cooling Strategy, which will seek to decrease Europe’s dependence on Russian gas while enhancing energy efficiency and uptake of renewables.