Competition tracking is as vital as monitoring debates

This analysis provides insights into the key influencers and their roles in Europe's green energy trajectory, showcasing the power of SAVOIRR's stakeholder mapping feature.

Who has been lobbying whom on the Hydrogen and Decarbonised Gas Market Package?

When the Hydrogen and Decarbonised Gas Market Package was launched in 2021 as a crucial component of the European Green Deal's Fit for 55 climate package, it was depicted as the major groundwork for Europe's domestic and industrial energy transition towards greener sources, namely hydrogen, renewable and low-carbon gases. The main highlights of the package are the revision of Gas Regulation and the Gas Directive.

Fast forward to today, despite the urgency brought about by the Ukraine War, the risks of a growing Israeli-Hamas conflict as well as the precarious relationship with China, and the new conditions set by the 2022 REPowerEU Strategy, the groundbreaking package remains mired in interinstitutional negotiations. 

So what are the pain points? The package has two main goals: first is to create a legislative basis for the decarbonisation of the gas markets, and secondly to establish a market for hydrogen.

A new operator network for hydrogen or extend the gas operator network?

The revision of the EU Gas Regulation is met with two opposing views from the European Parliament and the Council. The Council supports the Commission's proposal to establish a dedicated European Network of Network Operators for Hydrogen (ENNOH) to specify the rules of participation for certified operators from the Member States. The Parliament on the other hand, proposes to reform the existing European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) to include Hydrogen Network Operators, and the new organisation (ENTSOG&H) would be the one to develop the 10-year roadmap for future gas and hydrogen networks.

Opponents to the MEP's final position question the logic of asking fossil fuel operators to design non-fossil fuel roadmap. Proponents think it makes sense to encourage investments in hydrogen infrastructure using the current grid. 

Cross-border tariffs

When it comes to the revision of the EU Gas Directive, the Council is proposing to prolong the transition phase for hydrogen until the end of 2035, and empowering itself with the right to declare a regional or EU-wide natural gas price crisis where Member States are able to intervene in price setting. The MEPs on the other hand are eager to phase out fossil fuels as soon as possible with an emphasis on the "hydrogen corridors" that will allow for an integrated European hydrogen market with the free cross-border movement of hydrogen.

With the portrayal of hydrogen being somewhat of a silver bullet, stakeholders across the spectrum warn that an integrated European hydrogen market will not be a highway to decarbonisation for either domestic or industrial end-users. To start, there is much resistance to the removal of cross-border tariffs, especially by the gas pipeline operators who highlighted the complexities just to abolish the tariffs in addition to the need to finance the new hydrogen infrastructure. In the proposal, the European Commission suggested the abolition precisely to avoid a dramatic increase in fuel price after crossing several borders.

With such differing perspectives on the two main files, public affairs professionals are asking themselves: Who else has been influencing the discussions?

Using SAVOIRR to track competition

SAVOIRR is currently the only RegTech platform on the market that tracks both allies and opponents in any legislative file. In the screenshot below, you can see the total number of meetings held by interest groups with the key legislators in the European Parliament on the Gas Regulation. Shadow rapporteur Marie Toussaint (Greens, France) held the most number of meetings - 25 - in relation to this procedure. Rapporteur Jerzy Buzek (EPP, Poland) had 16 meetings while shadow rapporteur Klemen Groselj (Renew, Slovenia) had 6 meetings.

Upon closer inspection, when you open the meetings tab of Rapporteur Jerzy Buzek, you can see the full list of the meetings he has held with interest groups, when those were and with whom. The last meetings he had were with Hynfra on 26 October 2022, with Polenergia on 25 October, Gaz-System on 18 October and Snam on 28 September. He also met with the Association of the European Heating Industry on 6 July 2022.

When you check out the latest meetings with MEP Marie Toussaint, you'll find a different profile of interest groups. Her last meeting from 29 June 2023 was held with Iberdrola, a renewable energy company. On 21 June 2023, she met with NGOs ClientEarth, Climate Action Network Europe, Global Witness and E3G, whom she met already on 6 June.

MEP Klemen Groselj received Eurofer on 9 November 2022 and ENTSOG the gas operators on 3 May 2022, and more recently, he spoke with AirProducts on 4 July 2023 and EDF - Electricité de France on 6 December last year. 

Which are the most active interest groups on the Gas Regulation file?

SAVOIRR is also able to show you the most active interest groups in every legislative procedure. The most prolific stakeholder here is the Climate Action Network Europe, an umbrella environmental NGO with 47 staff members. You can see on the tool the meetings they held with the file's policymakers. Second in ranking is the E3G, followed by ClientEarth, Global Witness, Friends of the Earth Europe, Iberdrola and Solar Power Europe. In short, NGOs have been the most active in influencing the revision of the Gas Regulation.

WHICH ARE THE MOST ACTIVE INTEREST GROUPS ON THE GAS DIRECTIVE FILE?

When it comes to the Gas Directive, you can see from the screenshot below that most of the meetings were with rapporteur Jens Geier (S&D, Germany). All 77 of them. His last meetings were held with Energie Baden-Württemberg on 11 September this year, with Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft, EWE, Thüga, Verband Kommunaler Unternehmen and Wiener Stadtwerke on 5 September, Air Liquide on 31 August,  Industriegasverband on 4 July, Wirtschaftsvereiniging Stahl on 3 July, Air Products on 3 July and 14 June, ENGIE on 14 June, with ENTSOG gas operators on 13 June and Eurogas on 7 June. As you can see, most of them are companies and trade associations.

On the same file, shadow rapporteur Claudia Gamon (Renew, Austria) received a 17-member contingent of fellow Austrians on 15 June, probably there to refresh her memory of her country's energy-related specificities.

Compared with the Gas Regulation, the most active interest groups on the Gas Directive are mostly German-speaking companies. Top of the list is Thüga Aktiengesellschaft, followed by Verband Kommunaler Unternehmen e.V.,  Open Grid Europe, Agora Energiewende, Energie Baden-Württemberg, Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft, and also NGOs like Global Witness and Climate Action Network Europe.

As you can see, SAVOIRR not only helps you to research and monitor the legislative files that you are interested in, the AI-driven platform also keeps you updated live of all other interest groups which are influencing the discussions. In public affairs, competition tracking is as vital as monitoring debates.

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