The Green Brief: Has the PFUE done miracles for the climate?

The Green Brief: Has the PFUE done miracles for the climate?

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The French Presidency of the Council of the EU (PFUE) had to “perform one last miracle”, said an EU diplomat ahead of a meeting of energy and environment ministers in Luxembourg last week (June 29). On the agenda: establish their position on a large part of the new European climate legislation.

During this meeting, the PFUE was widely praised for its handling of the “Fit for 55” climate package. On the face of it, it seems deserved: the French have reached agreements on very controversial and very complex new laws very quickly in comparison with the usual legal lethargy of the EU.

At the end of its six months on the front line, the PFUE seems indeed to have accomplished a miracle despite enormous challenges, such as the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron seems have proven once again his sense of diplomacy to advance his priorities.

Consequently, the PFUE made it possible to reach an agreement on battery regulationsto hastily adopt the Council’s position on the carbon border adjustment mechanism and, in a final effort, to delicately bring all the Member States, without exception, to agree on a package of which everyone disagrees at least in part.

In addition, the 27 ministers reached an agreement on Monday (27 June) on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) and the Energy Efficiency Directive (EDD). And this, despite the reaction of Spain which threatened to dig a loophole in the legislation.

With the help of its German neighbours, the PFUE was able to satisfy Spain by positioning the Council weaker than the Commission’s initial position. (This position also benefits France and its nuclear fleet).

The PFUE experienced Tuesday (June 28) an even harder day. On the menu: the reform of the carbon market, the Social Fund for the climate, the CO2 standards for cars, the regulation on effort sharing and the regulation on the use of land and forests.

What ensued was a standoff between countries that wanted protections on the carbon market against rumors of speculation (which are unfounded) and those who opposed it. At the same time, a similar battle was unfolding over the size of the Social Climate Fund.

By dint of compromises and concessions, the PFUE therefore reached an agreement on all points, after 18 hours of negotiations.

We now have the position of all the EU countries, sprinkled with Gallic spirit, on almost all the elements of the “Fit for 55” legislation.

It is now the turn of the Czechs to take on the heavy task of the presidency of the Council of the EU. And if the priesthood of the PFUE was tantamount to turning water into wine, that of the Czechs is tantamount to raising Lazarus of Bethany from the dead.

While waiting for the trilogues (Parliament – ​​Council – Commission) scheduled for September 2022 which should record the entry into force of all these texts, the European Parliament is now entering a difficult phase, in particular on the definition of the content of the extension of the market. carbon on road transport and building and the assessment of the appropriate carbon price.

Further, it should be noted that while the PFUE may have prevented some watering down, it did little to increase ambition. Worrying situation, because whatever happens, the EU is legally bound to achieve the 55% net emissions reduction target by 2030.

At the moment the general consensus seems to be that an agreement will be reached by December 2022 on the majority of the package…nice Christmas present for all nerd climate policy.

Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work to be done. For example, the French have decided to leave the introduction of new energy efficiency and renewable energy targets to trialogues. This means that they will enter the negotiations with objectives lower than those set by the Commission for the response to the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine.

“We will see when everything is agreed” delays the executive vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans contacted by EURACTIV during the meetings in Council.

The French will then be able to claim victory if the Czechs succeed, and blame them if the agreements lead nowhere.

–Kira Taylor

[Édité par Paul Messad]



The euro zone could see a recession if Russia cuts gas, according to the ECB. The eurozone economy could face a recession if Russia halts gas deliveries and industry has to adjust to an energy shortage, European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos said on Monday. .

“If so, in our alternative scenario, we are experiencing a recession not only in Germany but also in the eurozone”said Mr. de Guindos.

The ECB had previously projected a continued, albeit somewhat slower, expansion this year and next in its base case scenario, but forecast a recession for next year in its downside scenario.

(EURACTIV.com with Reuters)

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Poland proposes to freeze the price of CO2 at €30/tonne. The price of carbon emission allowances in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) should be frozen at 30 euros per tonne for at least a year in order to control inflation in a context energy crisis, wrote Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in an op-ed published in the FinancialTimes.

Poland has long argued that the EU’s flagship tool to cut emissions is fueling inflation instead of boosting renewables. Warsaw has already called for the exclusion of financial institutions from the European carbon emissions trading scheme.

Warsaw is now proposing to cap carbon prices to help plan new investments, Morawiecki argued.

“The Polish proposal consists of freezing the price of CO2 emission allowances at 30 euros for at least one year, with the possibility of extending it for two years”Mr. Morawiecki wrote.

Poland depends on coal for more than 70% of its electricity production. The country says its energy mix makes meeting EU climate policy goals more costly than other members of the union.

(EURACTIV.com with Reuters)


JULY 12. Media partnership — Fit for 55: empowering energy consumers for a more sustainable and resilient Europe. The debate will focus on policies essential that combine security of supply and an ambitious level of decarbonisation while putting energy end users at the centre: what tools do consumers have today to make changes in habits a reality; how non-residential buildings and industry could systematize best practices, go up the value chain and access new services and new data? Join EU Commissioner Paula pinhoHead of Unit at DG Energy, MEP Ciaran Cufferapporteur for the review of the directive on the energy performance of buildings, and many others. Program and registration here. (Organized by Schneider-Electricin partnership with EURACTIV).


JULY 12—14. Informal meeting of environment ministers.

26—30 SEPTEMBER. European Sustainable Energy Week.

OCTOBER 11—12. Informal meeting of energy ministers.

OCTOBER 12. Development of post-Euro 6/VI emission standards for cars, vans, trucks and buses.

OCTOBER 20—21. Informal meeting of Ministers of Transport.

OCTOBER 24. Environment Council.

OCTOBER 25. Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (Energy).

OCTOBER 26. “Zero pollution” package:

  • Integrated water management — revised lists of surface water and groundwater pollutants.
  • Revision of European legislation on ambient air quality
  • Revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive Revision of the Regulation on the classification, labeling and packaging of chemicals

NOVEMBER 30. Circular economy package 2:

  • Proposed Regulation on Substantiation of Environmental Claims Using Product/Organization Environmental Footprint Methods (Green Claims)
  • Policy framework for biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics
  • Revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive to strengthen essential packaging requirements and establish measures and targets for preventing packaging waste at EU level
  • Measures to reduce the release of microplastics into the environment
  • Sustainable consumption of goods — promoting repair and reuse (the right to repair)

NOVEMBER 30. Climate package:

  • Carbon Removal Certification
  • Revision of CO2 emission standards for heavy goods vehicles

5—6 DECEMBER. Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council.

15—16 DECEMBER. European Council.

DECEMBER 19. Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (Energy).

DECEMBER 20. Environment Council.



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