France will not present its national energy and climate plan on time

Given the current political situation in France, it is almost impossible for the government to present its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) to the European Commission by the June 30 deadline, according to several French energy and climate experts.

After the dissolution of parliament, energy and climate issues were put on the back burner. As a result, France's presentation of its NECP, which outlines the country's climate and energy goals for the coming years, is being delayed.

"I have received messages from ministerial advisers who say it will be very difficult to present the NECP before June 30," said Nicola Goldberg, head of the energy center at the TerraNova think tank.

This is the date by which all 27 final NECPs must be submitted to the European Commission. The plans are a key component of the EU's climate governance framework.

States submitted draft reports to the Commission in the summer of 2023. The June 30 deadline is for final NECPs designed to reflect Commission feedback on initial drafts.

"The political situation and the uncertainty it creates can slow down communication," commented Brice Lalonde, president of the Équilibre des énergies think tank and former French environment minister.

A source familiar with the ministry's operations told Euractiv, that only everyday management issues will be prioritized.

Months of conflict between Paris and Brussels

France has been in dispute with the European Commission over its NECP for several months. In November 2023, she submitted her project, several months after the deadline. This text did not meet the requirements of European rules, as it did not include targets for the development of renewable energy. This was pointed out by the European Commission, to which the French executive countered that it preferred to include a low carbon target.

As negotiations with Brussels continue, the political situation in Paris worsens. Lacking an absolute majority in parliament, Macron's government is not ready to present its more detailed domestic energy and climate agenda to MPs before sending the final summary – which is the basis for the NECP – to the Commission.

"The NECP was supposed to be the translation of the Multiannual Energy Program (PPE) and the National Low Carbon Strategy (SNBC)," said Jules Nissen, president of the French renewable energy association Syndicat des énergies rénovéables (SER), referring to two domestic plans, focused on energy and climate respectively.

"These documents were due to be submitted for consultation in the next few days, which now looks unlikely," he continued.

However, in theory France could present the NECP to the Commission without enacting its national programs into law.

In search of a lost consensus

TerraNova's Nicola Goldberg bitterly regrets the situation.

"Everything has been ready for more than a year. All that was missing was the political moment. Instead, the government proposed another consultation with stakeholders in March," he announced.

Now the NECP is unlikely to be submitted on time. France may be penalized for this delay.

"However, the situation is such that the European Commission should not force France to send a plan based on nothing consensual," Jules Nissen believes.

"At the moment, the Commission does not wish to comment on the political situation in France, nor how it affects the ongoing work of the government," announced an EC spokesperson.