Energy Transition Sustainable Growth Report

Making the Energy Transition a European Success

A report by the Jacques Delors Institute


Photo: Celeste B


On 21 June 2017, Thomas Pellerin-Carlin, contributor of the Thinking Lab on Sustainable Growth, published a report on Energy Transition on a European scale together with the Jacques Delors Institute, pointing out the achievements of this European initiative. Basing on empirical findings, this policy paper formulates four main objectives and a number of concrete policy recommendations that aim to foster European integration through the establishment of a Energy Union.


If there is one project today which carries a positive vision for Europe, it is definitely the energy transition. Energy is the foundation of our nations’ power and a key element in our daily lives. The architects of Europe are preparing a democratic, innovative, economically viable, and socially fair Energy Union, which should contribute to a Europe that serves its citizens and paves the way for the rest of the world. If we fail in this project, the architects will have to give way to the firefighters, who will exhaust themselves putting out the fires caused by our past mistakes: climate refugees, dependence on Russia and Saudi Arabia, worsened energy poverty, and bankruptcy of energy suppliers who failed to adapt their strategy.

The Energy Union, which we have been championing since 2010, is an ambitious project currently fully supported by President Juncker. The withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Agreement further strengthened the European leadership in this area and will enable us to attract innovators and investors who understand the opportunities created by the energy transition.

This Policy Paper was written by Thomas Pellerin-Carlin, research fellow, Sofia Fernandes and Eulalia Rubio, senior research fellows, and Jean-Arnold Vinois, adviser, with a foreword by our founding President Jacques Delors and our President Enrico Letta. It clearly sets out four objectives that could contribute to the success of the Energy Union, and in turn restore trust between the European Union and its citizens.

  • First, democracy must shape the governance of the Energy Union. This can be done by implementing mechanisms which promote the direct participation of citizens, as well as through the involvement of local elected representatives and of civil society in the major choices that shape national and European energy strategies;
  • Second, Europe must implement a genuine innovation-driven industrial policy to make our companies the world leaders in the field of clean energy;
  • Third, public and private investment arbitrations must fully integrate the objectives of the energy transition;
  • Fourth, the Energy Union must serve a just and fair energy transition through the creation of a ‘Social Pact for the Energy Transition’, which aims to create jobs for our young people and to stamp out energy poverty.

A lack of progress towards the implementation of the Energy Union would come at a great cost to the European citizens and harm our ideal of a democratic, prosperous and social Europe, which is united in diversity.


The full report is available here on the Jacques Delors Institute’s website, where this article was originally published.

Thomas Pellerin-Carlin is research fellow at the Jacques Delors Institute, working on European energy policy. He is a contributor of the Thinking Lab on Sustainable Growth, which is part of the ‘Dialogue on Europe’ project.