Czech EU presidency intends to complete the ‘Fit for 55’ climate package

Czech EU presidency intends to complete the ‘Fit for 55’ climate package

The Czech Republic wants to make climate and the environment the drivers of its upcoming EU Council Presidency. Among its priorities is the promotion of the package of European climate laws entitled “Fit for 55”.

The central European country also wants to prioritize biodiversity, the circular economy and preparing for Ukraine’s post-war environmental restoration.

Czech Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková (KDU-ČSL, EPP) presented her European priorities on Monday (20 June) under the title: “Energy independence, climate neutrality, resilient landscapes”.

“These are the fundamental tasks of our ministry”she told reporters at a press briefing.

The Czech Republic assumes the rotating presidency of the EU for six months in the context of the Russian war in Ukraine. Its priorities are therefore impacted by the need to reduce reliance on Russian fossil fuels, combined with bloc-wide green goals, Hubáčková said.

“The European Green Deal intersects with the main priorities of the Czech EU Presidency”underlined the minister.

Ready for trilogues

The Czech Republic is not among the strongest supporters of green policies at European level. In the past, Prague has often championed the concerns of carbon-intensive industries.

During her presidency, she will work to find compromises between the 27 EU Member States on key climate and energy legislation as part of the “Fit for 55” package, which aims to reduce to halve EU emissions by 2030.

She will also oversee the adoption of the measures proposed under the European Commission’s REPowerEU plan, which aims to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian gas by two thirds before the end of the year.

The most pressing files under the ‘Fit for 55’ initiative include the revision of the EU emissions trading system, the new carbon border adjustment mechanism, legislation to reduce emissions from cars and vans, as well as the Effort Sharing Regulation. Support measures such as the proposed Social Climate Fund are also on the agenda.

The outgoing French Presidency of the Council of the EU (PFUE) wishes to achieve a “general guidance” on these files on June 28. If the EUPF is successful, the Czech Republic will seek to reach a final agreement between EU member states and the European Parliament in trialogue discussions with the European Commission.

“We hope that the PFUE will be able to conclude the general orientations. However, we are prepared for all possibilities.”said Ms. Hubáčková.

The European Parliament will vote its position on the ‘Fit for 55’ legislation during this week’s plenary session (June 22) in Brussels.

Light pollution and nature restoration in Ukraine

Besides the climate and energy agenda, the Czech Ministry of the Environment wants to focus on deforestation and soil protection. A subject that will be discussed at an informal meeting of ministers in Prague on July 13 and 14, 2022.

But as revealed by the Department of the Environment, it also wants to draw attention to light pollution.

“Light pollution has an impact on human health and biodiversity. The impacts are diverse and serious. We want to educate the public. We want to exchange experiences with EU member states and hopefully find a common solution”underlined the Deputy Minister of the Environment, Jan Dusík.

Besides the energy sector, the war in Ukraine has also redefined the priorities of the Czech Presidency in terms of environmental protection.

“We will also devote part of our programs to the strategy of restoring the damaged environment in Ukraine”explained Ms Hubáčková, Czech Minister for the Environment.

Among the main priorities of the Czech Presidency in the second half of 2022 will also be the future European law setting binding targets for nature restoration. The European Commission is expected to publish the proposal on Wednesday June 22.

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