In three weeks, millions of Europeans will be called to cast a vote for the European Parliament, the only EU body to directly represent the voices of citizens. Although more and more national laws take shape in Brussels at EU level, this election is notoriously neglected by citizens. In some countries, very few make it to the polls.
The EU Parliament has been a crucial actor in the shaping of new EU energy laws, on energy poverty in particular. The institution was key in achieving progress, especially as the EU Council, representing governments, resisted progress on this front, often with the argument that energy poverty is a social issue therefore not “relevant” to energy policy.
From the outset, many political groups recognised the links between climate action and social justice, and recognised the opportunities for tackling both challenges together. But not all parties and groups supported this vision.
They supported action
The European Greens have a history of calling for structural responses to energy poverty, mainly through renovating homes and rolling out renewable energy to bring down the cost of energy. We worked with Green MEPs to better link these solutions with immediate support for those in need today, to bridge the social and environmental. The party also reacted to our research showing a majority of countries have a significant level of energy poverty, calling for immediate action.
The Party of European Socialists, as part of the Socialists and Democrats group, have backed a manifesto on energy poverty in which they outline many solutions, from structural measures to immediate support. The S&D group also supported our demands throughout the 2030 energy package negotiations. Finally, the PES calls for action in their 2019 manifesto.
The European Left (part of the GUE/NGL group) perspective on energy poverty is grounded in social justice. The party strongly supports immediate solutions to energy poverty. During the 2030 energy package negotiations, they supported ambitious action on both climate and social issues, especially insisting on enforcing the right to energy. The party has also launched a campaign to eliminate energy poverty.
They restrained action
ALDE : although the party supported more ambitious climate targets during 2030 energy package negotiations, it did not support our calls to include measures on energy poverty, which we regret. Its manifesto also does not recognise the issue or call for action. The energy transition must be fair if it is to succeed: it’s time to recognise it!
The European People’s Party (EPP) has not supported either ambitious climate action or action on energy poverty. During negotiations on new energy laws, they consistently used the argument of the “social” character of energy poverty, denying energy policy’s role, and also opposed higher ambition on energy efficiency, preventing the EU Parliament from supporting a 40% efficiency target for 2030. We call on the EPP to get real on social and climate urgencies!
ACRE (part of the European Conservatives and Reformists group), like the EPP, supported neither climate ambition nor social justice, mirroring governments’ calls to “slow the pace” in the energy package, instead of embracing and supporting opportunities for progress. The party does not have an official manifesto, but its lead candidate does not mention energy poverty in his own.
NB: We do not work with far-right MEPs and parties, who on top of blocking progress on climate and social justice incite hatred and division in Europe.
Whatever the results of the vote, we will keep working together to eliminate energy poverty in Europe, and keep calling elected representatives to tackle the social and environmental crisis together.
- Read the Right to Energy manifesto for the EU elections here.
- Read the CAN-Europe report on Parliament groups legacies on climate action here.
- We are organising a Right to Energy Forum at the close of the elections, on June 19-20, to bring together European and national campaigners and plan for the years ahead, and the new challenges and opportunities, learn from each other and think of solutions and strategies to win. Join us!