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Parliamentary questions
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12 June 2019
Answer given by Mr Arias Cañete on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000606/2019

The Commission is aware that Spain has recently started receiving electricity from Morocco, which changes the past trends as before Spain was a net exporter. This may lead to questions relating to the protection of competition and of the environment in the international electricity market and in particular of ‘carbon leakage’, which occurs when production and emissions are relocated from the EU to countries with less strict climate policies.

The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) covers the power sector and energy-intensive industries in all EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. It cannot be applied to countries outside the EU unless there is an agreement. The EU ETS provides protection against the risk of carbon leakage through the free allocation of emission allowances to the industrial sectors. Due to the power sector’s ability to fully pass on the carbon costs into the price of electricity, in 2008 the co-legislators (the European Parliament and the Council) decided to discontinue free allocation to the power sector from 2013 onwards. This choice has been maintained by the co-legislators in the recent revision of the ETS Directive for the next decade.

In this context, the memorandum of understanding between Spain and Marocco as regards the construction of a third interconnection between the two countries, Spain could have explored for example a voluntary scheme of certificates of origin with Morocco to promote trade of renewable energy.

The EU Neighbourhood Polciy is strongly committed to the Paris Agreement and to combat climate change, as well as to the clean energy transition. The EU maintains a policy dialogue with its neighbours, which aims to encourage them to fulfil their commitments under the Paris Agreement. In this context, EU funding under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) is subject to the overall target of 20% of its budget on climate related projects. In particular, as far as Morocco is concerned, the development of renewable energy is at the centre of the EU-Morocco partnership. With the financial help of the EU, Morocco is investing in solar and wind energy and is considered a best practice among neighbouring countries. In its nationally determined contribution pursuant to the Paris Agreement Morocco aims for substantial reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a share of installed electricity generation capacity from renewable sources of at least 52%.


Last updated: 13 June 2019Legal notice