18th Ministerial Council embraces climate neutrality for the Energy Community and its Contracting Parties

17 December 2020

The 18th Ministerial Council took steps to further joint efforts towards the clean energy transition in the Energy Community aiming at climate neutrality in line with the Paris Agreement under the chairmanship of H.E Mladen Bojanić, Minister in charge of energy of Montenegro. Opening speeches by H.E. Zdravko Krivokapić, Prime Minister of Montenegro, and Cristina Lobillo, Director for Energy Policy at the European Commission, underlined the importance of the Energy Community as an essential tool for extending sustainable energy policies and cooperation outside the EU’s borders.

H.E. Mladen Bojanić said: “It was an honour to chair today’s Ministerial Council and witness the political endorsement of the General Policy Guidelines on 2030 Targets and Climate Neutrality. While this year was marked by navigating the coronavirus pandemic, it also brought encouraging signs of moving forward on the path of energy transition with the unconditional support of the Secretariat. This includes progress in drafting National Energy and Climate Plans, the launch by some Contracting Parties of coal phase-out programmes and work to propose an effective carbon pricing mechanism in the electricity sector which will prepare the Contracting Parties to join the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in the future.”

The General Policy Guidelines call for the adoption of binding 2030 targets for energy efficiency, energy from renewable sources and greenhouse gas emission reduction, both on individual Contracting Party and on collective Energy Community level, at the next Ministerial Council in 2021.

The Ministerial Council endorsed six Projects of Energy Community Interest (PECI) and eleven Projects of Mutual Interest (PMI) in electricity, gas and oil. The project assessment was based on a scenario which complies with the Paris Agreement goals. The projects, to be officially adopted via written procedure, can benefit from investment incentives, including funding under the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and the Neighbourhood Investment Facility, streamlined permit granting, and enhanced regulatory conditions. They will boost sustainable large infrastructure development and facilitate the integration of the pan-European energy market.

Due to the virtual nature of the meeting, all decisions of the Ministerial Council will be adopted by written procedure. This includes the imposition of measures for non-implementation of the Treaty against Bosnia and Herzegovina in cases ECS-8/11S for failure comply with the Second Energy Package in the gas sector; ECS-2/13S for failure to comply with the Sulphur in Fuels Directive; and ECS-6/16S for failure to transpose the Third Energy Package and the establishment of a serious and persistent breach against Ukraine for failing to comply with Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU and against Serbia for breach of unbundling of the company Yugorosgaz.

The meeting concluded with the handing over of the Energy Community Presidency to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia, H.E. Zorana Mihajlovic.