Does Belgium’s federal government lack levers to effectively tackle the energy transition?

The webinar with federal Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten, first scheduled for 16 February and next for 5 July 2022, will not take place, owing to the many emergencies the Minister has to address as a result of the international situation.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made the energy transition even more urgent than it was. But compared to its European partners, Belgium is not doing well. Deployment of renewable energy, enhancement of energy efficiency, electrification of mobility: in all these domains, we are lagging behind.  Could a more “homogeneous” allocation of competences between the federal state and the regions fix the problem? Alas, an effective energy transition requires measures in the fields of mobility, housing, agriculture, industry, spatial planning, taxation, etc. More “homogeneity” could be achieved by locating all these competences at the federal level, but then one would recreate at this level many conflicts which motivated the regionalisation of these competences. It could also be achieved by locating them all at the regional level, but spillover effects and Belgium’s international commitments would force regions to negotiate with one another even more than today. So can appeals to “cooperative federalism” and “federal loyalty” within the existing institutional framework suffice to remove the obstacles that block the energy transition we urgently need? Or is institutional reform needed?

Language regime: Dutch and French with simultaneous translation
Moderation: Béatrice DELVAUX (Le Soir) & Karel VERHOEVEN (De Standaard)

Welcoming: Philippe VAN PARIJS (Re-Bel & UCLouvain) 
Introduction: Tinne VAN DER STRAETEN (federal minister of energy) 
Challenges: Jos DELBEKE (EIB Climate Chair, European University Institute, former Director General Climate, European Commission) and Estelle CANTILLON (Research director FNRS Solvay ULB, regent Belgian National Bank)

General discussion