Non-Legislative Updates: Sustainability Outlook European Union – July 2021
European Commission proposes a landmark “Fit for 55” package of climate and energy legislation. Delivering a key component of the European Green Deal umbrella policy that it adopted in December 2019, the European Commission issued 15 legislative proposals, accompanied by three non-legislative communications. With the supporting documents, e.g. impact assessments, the package adds up to around 4,200 pages. It includes the following initiatives:
Strategic rollout plan to support rapid deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure – supplementing the legislative proposal.
Communication on the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030 – unlocking the potential of forests.
Communication ‘Fit for 55’: delivering the EU’s 2030 Climate Target on the way to climate neutrality’, accompanying the package.
Structure of the Fit for 55 package and related initiatives (source: S. Tagliapietra, Bruegel):
In the Communication accompanying the Fit for 55 package, the Commission explains how it is supposed to deliver the 2030 climate target of reducing net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55%, compared to 1990 levels. The EU has made this target legally binding in its European Climate Law (Regulation 2021/1119), which entered into force in July (please see Sustainability Outlook June 2021). The chosen policy mix combines pricing, targets, standards and support measures. Those support measures include using revenues and regulations to promote innovation, build solidarity and mitigate impacts for the vulnerable, notably through the new Social Climate Fund and enhanced Modernisation and Innovation Funds. When announcing the package, the Commission held that achieving these emission reductions in the next decade is crucial to Europe becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. At the same time, its intention is “to fundamentally transform our economy and society for a fair, green and prosperous future”. The Commission stated that it has conducted extensive impact assessments before presenting these proposals to measure the opportunities and costs of the green transition.
As usual, stakeholders can submit comments on each legislative proposal until 16 September 2021. The EU co-legislators Council and European Parliament will now start agreeing on their positions on these proposals, in order to enter into inter-institutional negotiations with a view to adopting them. The current Slovenian Council Presidency has already characterised the Fit for 55 package as a legislative “tsunami” and expressed its intent to start the debate on it (please see Sustainability Outlook June 2021). The European Commission will implement its own non-legislative proposals.
Francesca Zuccarello Cimino and Josep Nicolas Bellot also contributed to this article.