European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, on behalf of the Energy Union, pleaded Thursday with Belgian energy ministers (federal and regional) to elaborate on the national energy-climate plan for 2030 as soon as possible. “It would be the best signal to send to investors,” insisted Sefcovic, who proposed to Belgian ministers (Marie-Christine Marghem for the federal level, Bart Tommelein for Flanders, Céline Frémault for Brussels and Christophe Lacroix for Wallonia) the aid of European experts to achieve this.
Tens of billions of euros of investment will be needed in the coming decades to ensure the transition to a sustainable energy model and ensure supply.
According to the Slovakian Commissioner, investors are willing to support European objectives. They are already satisfied with the involvement of bourgmestres and local authorities, but they are still awaiting “strong involvement and support at the national level”.
Belgium must present its national plan by the end of this year. It is not really lagging behind, as half a dozen other member states are more or less in the same state of progress, acknowledges the Commissioner. But “2020 is approaching and 2030 is not that far off”.
The European Union is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels) and by at least 20% by 2020. Belgium can still fulfill its part of the contract, “but this will require efforts at the federal and regional levels,” confirms Maros Sefcovic, stressing the importance of offshore wind farms.
As for the discontinuation of nuclear power, it remains “one of the biggest challenges” of Belgium in the coming years, as well as the improvement of air quality, in the eyes of the Commissioner. It considers positive the willingness in Belgium to replace support for company cars with mobility budgets, as well as the strong interconnection of Belgian energy networks with those of neighboring countries.