EU Commission Warns Austria About Outstanding Climate Plan

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: April 29, 2024; 21:48 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austria is being criticized by the European Commission because it is the only EU country that has not yet submitted its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). The failure to meet the deadline has led to official infringement proceedings. This increases the pressure on the Austrian government to revise and present its strategies for achieving the climate targets by 2030.

The Austrian Climate Ministry's draft to Brussels was withdrawn due to its alleged government position, while Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler argued other ministries' proposals were included. / Picture: © BMK / Cajetan Perwein

In a new request, the European Commission has criticized Austria for still not submitting it's National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), as reported by ORF. Austria is currently the only EU member state that has not submitted the required draft. The Commission had already initiated infringement proceedings in December 2023 after the original plan was not submitted on time.

The NECPs are crucial for setting out how the EU countries intend to achieve their climate and energy targets by 2030. Timely submission of these plans is necessary so that the Commission can propose any improvements. All EU member states are required to submit their final and revised plans by June 30, which must take into account the EU's recommendations and assessments.

Austria's climate ministry had initially sent the plan to Brussels in October, a few months after the deadline, but withdrew it shortly afterward. The ministry, headed by Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP), justified the withdrawal by stating that the draft only reflected the opinion of the climate ministry and not that of the entire government. Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) contradicted this statement and emphasized that the other ministries had been involved in the process and their suggestions had been taken into account.

The situation has provoked cross-party criticism. Walter Rauch, environmental spokesman for the FPÖ, commented: "It is disconcerting that a federal government in which the Greens are involved is burdening citizens with new taxes and levies but cannot agree on a joint paper to be sent to Brussels."

The European Commission is closely monitoring developments and expects Austria's position to be clarified soon to ensure compliance with EU directives and promote effective measures in the fight against climate change.