Country guides and Dispatches

Our Dispatches keep you in the loop about energy and climate policy trends in key European countries and the EU itself. With a tight selection of the most relevant recent and upcoming developments, they provide a regular snapshot of what matters for the shift to climate neutrality in policy, diplomacy, society, and industry, and help readers look beyond national borders. For a deeper understanding of where those key countries and the EU stand in the transition, the respective CLEW Guides offer concise background, an outline of major transition stories, as well as a progress assessment of major economic sectors. Written by local journalists with extensive experience.

How the European Union is trying to legislate a path to net-zero

The European Union announced itself as a potential early climate champion in 2018 by pledging to reach climate-neutrality by 2050. Yet, rules and regulations are needed to bring emissions down sufficiently to make ‘climate neutrality’ a feasible reality. A lot of work has been done but much is still on the agenda. Politics clashes with policy, continuing to influence what degree of legislative ambition can be pursued.

Germany's renewables push brings 2030 climate target in reach

For the first time ever, Germany is projected to be on track towards reaching its national 2030 climate targets - if it manages to implement climate policies as planned, projections by the country's Federal Environment Agency (UBA) show. Positive developments in the expansion of renewable energy sources and new schemes for industry decarbonisation point in the right direction. Germany managed to push coal-fired power production to the lowest level in more than half a century in the same year it phased out nuclear power. However, the government is still grappling with challenges regarding its climate action funding that was brought about by a constitutional court ruling in late 2023 and struggles to find comprehensive answers for bringing down notoriously high emissions in the transport and buildings sector.

France awaits key climate legislation, government keeps focus on nuclear

Despite a set of fresh new decarbonisation goals published last year, starting with the progressive phaseout of fossil fuels, France seems more focused on deploying new nuclear reactors – which will likely cost more than expected – than making up for the gap between the development of its clean energy sources and those of other countries in the European Union. Whether the development pace is too slow for some or the targets not ambitious enough for others, the EU executive is keeping France under close watch. The government pledged to pursue its efforts in adapting to climate change with a series of proposals set to be adopted mid-2024.

Italy moves on green transition, but fossil ties remain tight

Italy has taken significant steps in its green transition over the past decade, but the current government under prime minister Giorgia Meloni is also focused on making the country a "gas hub" in the Mediterranean Sea, demonstrating its ongoing deep ties to fossil fuels. The year 2024 has started with the Italy-Africa Summit and the country's G7 presidency, both focusing on energy cooperation and addressing immigration issues through the so-called "Mattei Plan". Researchers and NGOs have criticised the country's new draft energy and climate plan (NECP) for being vague about key topics such as phasing out oil, coal and gas, and expanding alternative energy sources like wind or solar power – issues that make meeting the EU's climate and renewables targets all the harder.

NGOs become disillusioned with Poland’s new government

No major changes to Poland's climate policy have been delivered by the new liberal/left coalition government with Donald Tusk as prime minister after taking office in December 2023. The new coalition promised to "speed up" the green transition, build out more renewables, invest in the grid and energy efficiency, and strengthen nature conservation measures. However, a number of roadblocks stand in the way of the bold promises. And in the first months, the government was focused on issues like delivering EU funds blocked during the rule of the far-right Law and Justice (PiS) party. Update to strategic documents or new legislation are yet to be seen. The first months of 2024 were also marked by big farmers' protests, much like in other EU countries, and Tusk promised to negotiate changes to the EU Green Deal on their behalf.

Croatia caught between LNG ambitions and abundant untapped renewable energy potential

In the midst of what is touted a "super election year" 2024 in Croatia with three important elections, energy issues are expected to play an important role in the political campaigns but the price of using energy is still mostly prevailing over the environmental and climate concerns. Snap parliamentary elections in April yielded no conclusive winners: the party in power, centre-right HDZ, won the most seats in parliament but fell short of an outright majority. So far, it had supported the expansion of the LNG terminal on the island of Krk with the aim of turning the country into a regional hub for the import of fossil gas from the United States. This effort elicits frequent protests from green NGOs and energy experts.

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