Priority 1 - A European Green Deal

Priority One
© European Commission, 2021

Clean Energy

Sustainable Industry

Building and Renovating

Sustainable Mobility

Biodiversity

From Farm to Fork

Eliminating Pollution

    European Commission Work Programme 2022

Security of Energy Supply

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Non-legislative act: On the 23rd of March 2022 the Commission put forward a Communication on the security of supply and affordable energy prices, containing options for immediate measures and preparing for next winter (press release).

Problem: The massive increase in end-user prices for natural gas and electricity over the past 12 months, exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is driving up inflation, hurting the European economy and slowing the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Objective: EU leaders set the goal of ending the EU's dependence on gas, oil, and coal imports from Russia as soon as possible and agree on joint European action to address the root causes of the problem in the gas market.

Subject matter: The short-term options for action to limit the impact of high electricity prices on the population and businesses can be roughly divided into two categories: (1) financial compensation, and (2) regulatory. The interventions aiming at financial compensation are aimed at lowering electricity prices, either directly on the end consumer side or indirectly on the wholesale market. With regard to the end consumer side, measures such as the new temporary crisis framework for state aid, reduced VAT rates for gas, electricity and/or district heating are introduced. On the wholesale side, member states may consider, among other things, the establishment of an aggregator model, where a company buys electricity at favourable conditions and makes it available to certain categories of consumers below the market price. Possible regulatory measures without financial compensation consist of a regulatory cap on the maximum price that certain base load generators can charge. However, a disadvantage of this option is the need to access information on producers' costs and revenues, which may not be available to public authorities. In order to secure gas supply for the next winter and beyond at a reasonable cost, a cap or modulation of the gas price by regulatory means could be considered. This step can be seen as a signal that the EU will not pay any price for gas. At the same time, it brings with it some disadvantages in terms of security of gas supply. On all points, it is important to ensure that the EU acts consistently and uses its market power to negotiate partnerships with suppliers. To this end, for example, a task force for joint gas purchases should be set up at EU level. This would facilitate and strengthen the EU's international contacts with suppliers of liquefied natural gas and natural gas. Furthermore, the EU proposes a common and strategic European gas storage policy, among other things to optimise the use of existing storage infrastructure. In addition, the Commission has presented a legislative proposal on energy storage to ensure that existing storage infrastructure is filled to at least 90 per cent of its capacity by 1 November each year. In the context of the REPowerEU roll-out, the EU regulatory framework needs to be adapted to a much higher share of renewables in the energy mix, in line with the EU's decarbonisation targets. Options for optimising the design of the electricity market will therefore be examined by May.

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Legislative procedure completed: On the 27th of June 2022 the new Gas Storage Regulation has been approved. Under the new legislation, the 18 member states that have underground gas storage facilities must fill them by at least 80 per cent of their storage capacity by 1st of November. EU Member States that do not have storage infrastructures must ensure through bilateral agreements that sufficient volumes can be stored in neighbouring countries. Storage operators in the EU will also have to go through a new certification procedure to reduce risks of external disruption (press release).

Proposal: On the 23rd of March 2022 the Commission put forward a Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EU) 2017/1938 concerning measures to safeguard the security of gas supply and Regulation (EC) n°715/2009 on conditions for access to natural gas transmission networks (press release).

Problem: In view of the international tensions, plans, and measures must be pushed forward to become more independent of third countries in terms of gas supply. In addition, short-term measures are needed to address energy market imbalances and secure supply in the coming year. Specific problems of gas storage include the unattractive filling of storage in summer for the coming winter, the risk of insufficient storage, and risks to security of supply from the control over and use of storage facilities by third country companies.

Objective: The proposal aims to mitigate risks to the security of supply and the Union's economy. The EU's storage capacities should not remain unused and thus ensure that storage facilities can be shared across the Union on a solidarity basis. A mandatory minimum filling level of the gas storage facilities is to ensure security of supply for the winter months. In addition, mandatory certification of storage facility operators should ensure that risks to supply security can be excluded. Incentives for the use of storage facilities should also be created by exempting storage users from transmission tariffs at entry or exit points.

Subject matter: In order to secure the gas supply, it must first be ensured that the storage infrastructures in the respective territory of the member states are filled to at least 90 per cent of their capacity at national level by 1 November, with each Member State achieving interim targets in May, July, September, and February of the following year. A lower filling target of 80 per cent is initially envisaged for 2022. A "filling path" is to enable continuous monitoring throughout the entire injection season. From 2023 onwards, the Commission should be able to adjust the filling target and the filling path by adopting a delegated act, taking into account the annual stimulation of ENTSOG and the joint analysis to be carried out by the regional risk groups in accordance with Supply (EU) 2017/1938. All measures to ensure the filling of gas storage facilities should be necessary, clearly defined, transparent, proportionate, non-discriminatory and verifiable. In addition, member states should guarantee that any storage system operator, including those controlled by transmission system operators, is certified under this Regulation by the regulatory authority or any other competent authority in order to prevent interference with storage system operators from jeopardising the security of energy supply or other essential security interests of the Union or of a member state. In order to halt a further increase in gas prices when companies need to buy more gas at a time of higher prices, storage facilities should be exempted from entry and exit tariffs for long-distance capacity in order to make storage more attractive for market participants.

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Proposal: On the 20th of July 2022 the Commission put forward a Proposal for a Council Regulation on coordinated demand reduction measures for gas (press release).

Problem: The EU's dependence on gas supplies from Russia, in the context of Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, has significant implications for the EU in terms of gas and electricity prices, inflation and overall financial and macroeconomic stability. Currently, the EU faces the real possibility of a complete and prolonged disruption of gas supply from Russia.

Objective: In view of possible further supply disruptions by Russia, gas demand must be further reduced in order to avoid far-reaching negative consequences for EU citizens and the EU economy. A jointly coordinated approach must be taken to avoid significant distortions that would otherwise occur in the internal market.

Subject matter: EU measures already taken include the REPowerEU plan, the review of all national contingency plans and the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2022/1032 to ensure the filling of underground gas storage facilities for the coming winter. The risk of a sudden and unilateral total shutdown of Russian gas supplies requires strengthening the EU's resilience to future shocks through proactive demand reduction measures ahead of the coming winter. Such voluntary demand reduction would help to maintain storage levels, ensure adequate supply and lower prices for the benefit of Union consumers. In addition, the Commission should be empowered, after consulting the relevant risk groups and in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2017/1938, to set up the Gas Coordination Group and, taking into account the views expressed by the Member States in this context, to issue a Union alert if the voluntary demand reduction measures prove insufficient. When the Union alert is declared, all Member States should be obliged to reduce their gas consumption within a predefined period of time. While all Member States should achieve the same voluntary and mandatory reduction targets, some Member States are not in a position to release significant amounts of pipeline gas to other Member States due to their specific geographical or physical situation. For these Member States, there should therefore be the possibility to request a partial derogation from the demand reduction obligation. In general, Member States are free to choose the appropriate measures to achieve the mandatory demand reduction. However, it is important to ensure that these are clearly defined, transparent, proportionate, non-discriminatory and verifiable. Regular monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the measures is essential to assess Member States' progress in implementing voluntary and mandatory demand reduction measures. Due to the assumed persistence of gas supply disruptions to the Union, this Regulation should apply for two years after its entry into force.

Zero Pollution Package

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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 114 TFEU, Q2 2022.

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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 192 TFEU, Q3 2021.

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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 192 TFEU, Q3 2022.

  Climate Measures Package

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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 192(1) TFEU, Q2 2022.

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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Articles 91 and 100(2) TFEU, Q4 2022.

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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 192(1) TFEU, Q4 2022.
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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 192(1) TFEU, Q4 2022.

Circular Economy Package

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Non-legislative Act: On the 30th of March 2022, the Commission published a Communication on an EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles (press release).

Problem: The production and consumption of textile products has an extensive impact on water and energy consumption and on the environment. The consumption of textiles, most of which are imported, are expected to increase by 63 per cent by 2030. Trends of overproduction and overconsumption lead to an inefficient use of non-renewable resources, including the production of synthetic fibres from fossil-fuels. The complex and diverse global textile value chain is also faced with social challenges, in part driven by pressures to minimize production costs to meet consumer demand for affordable products, but this in turn makes unlawful working conditions and child labour possible.

Objective: The aim of this framework is to ensure that by 2030 textile products placed on the EU market are long-lived and recyclable, made as much as possible of recycled fibres, free of hazardous substances and produced in respect of social rights and the environment. Consumers shall benefit longer from high-quality textiles, fast fashion shall become obsolete and economically profitable re-use and repair services should be widely available.

Subject matter: This Strategy includes: (1) mandatory Ecodesign requirements, which shall bind producers to product-specific requirements. The Commission attempts to introduce mandatory criteria for green public procurement as well. Digital tools shall be used to transition the Textiles Ecosystem. They could reduce the high percentage of returns of clothing and encourage on-demand custom manufacturing. The requirements shall also address synthetic fibres that are being shed into the environment. (2)The initiative on Empowering Consumers for Green Transition shall ensure that consumers are provided with information at the point of sale about a commercial guarantee of durability as well as information relevant to repair, including a reparability score, whenever this is available. General environmental claims (“green-washing”) shall in this way be made more difficult (3) a Digital Product Passport shall encourage businesses and customers to make better choices and to improve the communication between actors along the value chain. Mandatory disclosures on sustainability and circularity parameters, products’ size and, where applicable, the country where manufacturing processes take place are to ensure a consistency with the Textile Labelling Regulation. (4) a mandatory EU extended producer responsibility scheme with eco-modulation of fees shall create an economy of collection, sorting, reuse, as well as incentives for producers and brands to ensure that their products are designed in respect of circularity principles.

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Proposal: On the 30th of March 2022 the Commission put forward a Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directives 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU as regards empowering consumers for the green transition through better protection against unfair practices and better information (press release).

Problem: Unfair commercial practices prevent sustainable consumption by consumers. EU consumer protection rules, which make a crucial contribution to the proper functioning of the internal market, aim to ensure a fair and transparent relationship between businesses and consumers. They are thus designed to benefit the common good of European consumers and the EU economy.

Objective: This proposal aims to improve consumer rights by amending two directives to protect the interests of consumers at Union level. Thus, it aims to contribute to a circular, clean, and green EU economy. The improved consumer rights should also ensure a better and more coherent application of EU consumer protection rules. The amendments contained in the proposal aim to better protect consumers from unfair commercial practices such as greenwashing, early obsolescence practices and the use of unreliable and non-transparent sustainability labels and information tools.

Subject matter: In order to combat these business practices, which prevent consumers from making sustainable consumption choices, specific rules are to be included in EU consumer law. Specifically, by amending Article 6(1) of Directive 2005/29/EC, traders should be prevented from misleading consumers about the environmental and social impacts, durability or repairability of their products. To this end, the social and environmental impact as well as the durability, and repairability of the product should be included in the list of essential characteristics of the product. In order to ensure that comparisons of products on the basis of their environmental and social aspects do not mislead consumers, Article 7 of Directive 2005/29/EC is to be amended to the effect that the consumer must be provided with information on, among other things, the comparison method and the products which are the subject of the comparison. Another amendment concerns the inclusion of the prohibition of sustainability labels which are not based on a certification system or established by public authorities in the list in Annex 1 of Directive 2005/29/EC. Thus, general environmental claims without a recognised environmental excellence to which the claim refers shall be prohibited. With regard to the amendments to Directive 2011/83/EU, traders are to provide relevant repair information for all types of goods, such as information on the availability of spare lines as well as user manuals and repair instructions. Furthermore, Directives 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU are intended to act as a "safety net", thus ensuring that a high level of consumer protection can be maintained in all sectors by complementing sector- and product-specific Union legislation that takes precedence in the event of a conflict.

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Proposal: On the 30th of March 2022 the Commission put forward a Proposal for a Regulation laying down harmonized conditions for the marketing of construction products, amending Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 and repealing Regulation (EU) 305/2011 (press release).

Problem: The implementation report on the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) in 2016 revealed certain shortcomings in its implementation and a significant number of challenges linked among others to standardization, simplification for micro-enterprises, market surveillance and enforcement. Another aspect of the CPR is its part in efforts towards energy- and resource-efficient buildings and renovations, and in addressing the sustainability of construction products.

Objective: The CPR revision aims to achieve a well-functioning single market for construction products and to contribute to the goals of the digital and green transition, in particular the modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy.

Subject matter: The Regulation establishes harmonised rules for the making available on the market and the direct assembly of construction products. These include rules specifying the way in which the environmental and safety performance of construction products is related to their essential characteristics, as well as environmental, functional and safety requirements for construction products. To ensure the conformity of a product, the manufacturer draws up a declaration of performance and thus assumes responsibility. The declaration of performance shall indicate the performance of products in relation to the essential characteristics in accordance with the relevant harmonised technical specifications or European Assessment Documents. In addition, the manufacturer of a product who is not exempted from the obligation to submit a declaration of performance shall draw up a declaration of conformity before placing the product on the market. The CE marking shall be affixed to those products for which the manufacturer has drawn up a declaration of performance or a declaration of conformity. The CE marking shall be affixed only to the essential components. Other markings may be affixed to a product only if they do not cover or refer to certain requirements applicable within the harmonised zone. Additional environmental obligations on manufacturers include, but are not limited to, packaging products in an environmentally sound manner, giving preference to the use of recyclable materials and materials obtained through recycling, and designing products in such a way that they can be easily repaired, reconditioned and upgraded. A manufacturer may, by means of a written mandate, appoint any natural or legal person established within the Union as his single authorised representative. They shall act with due care in relation to the obligations arising from this Regulation and shall perform the tasks specified in the mandate. The obligations of importers include the placing on the market of products which comply with this Regulation. Before doing so, the importer should check, among other things, whether the manufacturer has fulfilled the obligations. The distributor has the task of making a product available on the market only if the obligations of this Regulation are duly taken into account. The same applies to fulfilment service providers, brokers, online marketplaces etc. Suppliers and service providers involved in the manufacture of products also have a responsibility to ensure compliance with this Regulation. The Commission shall set up a complaints portal that allows natural or legal persons to share complaints or reports of non-compliance. In applying this Regulation, the Commission relies on international cooperation with third countries and organisations in various fields.

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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Q3 2022.

  Plastics Package

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Non-legislative, Q2 2022.

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Non-legislative, Q4 2022.

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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 114 TFEU, Q4 2022.

Biodiversity and Farm to Fork

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Proposal: On the 22nd of June 2022, the European Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products and amending Regulation (EU) 2021/2115 (press release).

Problem: The application and enforcement of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD), adopted in 2009, have been flawed. Reports by different EU bodies show serious deficiencies in the implementation of the SUD in some member states, urging the Commission to introduce stricter rules.

Objective: The Commission primarily aims to transform the existing Directive into a regulation in order to increase coherence and introduce more effective policies in individual member states. The harmonisation of national pesticide-use policies shall help improve the functioning of the internal market and reduce trade distortions between member states. The proposal builds upon four specific objectives, the first being the reduction of the use and risk of chemical pesticides, in particular those containing more hazardous active substances. The application and enforcement of integrated pest management as well as the use of less hazardous and non-chemical alternatives to chemical pesticides for pest control shall further be increased. The second objective is to improve the availability of monitoring data, including on the application, use of, and risk from pesticides in addition to health and environmental monitoring. Policy effectiveness and efficiency shall be provided with the help of better implementation, application, and enforcement of legal provisions across all member states. Lastly, the adoption of new technologies is to be promoted with the aim of reducing the overall use and risk of pesticides.

Subject Matter: Rules for the sustainable use of plant protection products are presented, establishing requirements for use, storage, sale, and disposal of plant protection products. Additionally, such regulations address the application of equipment, providing for training and awareness raising, and providing for implementation of integrated pest management. This Regulation shall apply to products, in the form in which they are supplied to the user, consisting of or containing active substances, safeners or synergists. Member states are instructed to contribute, through the of national targets to achieving by 2030 a 50 per cent Union-wide reduction of both the use and risk of chemical plant protection products as well as the use of more hazardous plant protection products compared to the average of the years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

  Follow-up Financing the Sustainable Transition

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Legislative procedure completed: On the 7th of March 2022 the Commission and the EIB Group signed the InvestEU agreement, such as the agreement on the InvestEU Advisory Body (press release). By providing a 26.2 billion euro EU budgetary guarantee to support finance and investment operations, the InvestEU programme will attract public and private financing aiming to mobilise at least 372 billion euro in additional investment by 2027, benefitting people and businesses across Europe. The InvestEU Fund will provide the EU with long-term funding. Though the agreement on the advisory hub, an efficient point of access for financial and technical assistance demand, drawing and know-how from across the EIB Group will be provided. On the 24th of March 2021 the European Parliament and the Council published a Regulation on establishing the InvestEU Programme and amending Regulation (EU) 2015/1017 (press release).

Problem: The COVID-19-andemic is a major shock to the economies of the Union, with significant social and economic impacts on all member states and regions. The necessary containment measures have led to a decline in economic activity in the Union. In order to achieve the Union's policy objectives and to enable a rapid, sustainable, inclusive and lasting recovery, it is necessary to provide means of support to address market failures and sub-optimal investment conditions and to reduce the investment gap in certain sectors of the economy.

Objective: This Regulation establishes the InvestEU Fund, which provides an EU guarantee to support financing and investments carried out by implementing partners that contribute to the objectives of the Union's internal policies. The Regulation sets out both the objectives of the programme, its budget and the amount of the EU guarantee for the period 2021 to 2027, as well as the forms of Union funding and the funding rules.

Subject matter: Among other things, "InvestEU" is intended to improve the competitiveness of the Union, to contribute to the social resilience, integration and innovative strength of the Union and to scientific and technical progress. Furthermore, financing and investments in sustainable infrastructure as well as in research, innovation and digitalisation are to be supported. Both the access to and availability of financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the access to and availability of microfinance and financing for social enterprises, etc. "Invest EU" consists of three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Service and the InvestEU Portal. The investments of the Invest EU Fund will focus on four policy areas: sustainable infrastructure; research, innovation and digitalisation; SMEs; and social investment and skills. Under this Regulation, the Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group are entering into a partnership aimed at promoting the implementation and coherence of the InvestEU programme, as well as its inclusiveness, additionality and effective delivery. The EIB Group will, inter alia, take on operational tasks related to the InvestEU Advisory Platform, which will be set up by the Commission. The platform provides advisory support for the identification, preparation, development, design, tendering and implementation of investment projects and for strengthening the capacity of project promoters and financial intermediaries. The third component, the InvestEU Portal, is an easily accessible project database providing relevant information on individual projects. It offers project promoters the possibility to make their projects, for which they need financing, known to investors.

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Non-legislative act: On the 18th of May 2022, the Commission put forward a Communication on the REPowerEU-Plan (press release).

Problem: As a result of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, there were major disruptions to the global energy system, which revealed the EU's overdependence on Russian gas, oil, and coal imports.

Objective: The REPowerEU plan aims to reduce European dependence on Russian fossil fuels by accelerating the transition to clean energy and working together to create a more resilient energy system and a true Energy Union. To bring about a structural change in Europe's energy system, it proposes measures to save energy, diversify supply, rapidly replace fossil fuels and intelligently link investment and reform.

Subject matter: Concrete measures to save energy include the European Commission's proposal to raise the binding target of the Energy Efficiency Directive to 13 per cent. Additional savings and an increase in energy efficiency in buildings are also to be made possible via the Directive on the Overall Energy Efficiency of Buildings. In addition, increased implementation and ambitious updating of the National Energy and Climate Plans (NEKP) will be pursued in order to realise the REPowerEU targets. With a view to diversifying energy imports, an EU Energy Platform for voluntary joint procurement of gas, liquefied natural gas and hydrogen was first established. With regard to joint gas procurement, this platform will perform three functions: (1) aggregation and structuring of demand; (2) optimised and transparent use of infrastructure for import, storage, and transport of gas; and (3) outreach activities at international level. In addition, the Platform will identify demand and diversification of supply options and coordinate contractual issues through regional task forces. To substitute fossil fuels and accelerate the energy transition in Europe, renewable energies are to be promoted, for example through the installation of over 320 GW of solar power systems, which are to be installed by 2025. In addition, the domestic production of hydrogen from renewable sources and the import of renewable hydrogen are to be promoted. Furthermore, the sustainable production of biomethane is to be expanded, for example by offering incentives for the processing of biogas into biomethane. The REPowerEU plan is to be implemented with skilled labour, raw materials and a complete regulatory framework. To this end, the shortage of skilled workers is to be addressed, for example, by promoting a comprehensive skills partnership. With regard to investments under REPowerEU, the Commission expects that investments of 210 billion euro will be needed by 2027. At the same time, the implementation of Fit for 55 and the REPowerEU plan is expected to save on gas, oil, and coal imports by 2030. Other smart investments include around 10 billion euro to import sufficient quantities of LNG and pipeline gas from other suppliers; 1.5 -2 billion euro to ensure security of oil supply, and 29 billion euro of investments for the electricity grid. Finally, it is important to strengthen preparedness by, a.o., updating contingency plans, preventively implementing the EU Communication on Energy Savings and concluding outstanding bilateral solidarity agreements between neighbouring countries. The REPowerEU plan builds on the full implementation of all "Fit for 55" proposals and also serves the goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030 and achieving climate neutrality by 2050, in line with the European Green Deal.

European Commission Work Programme 2021

Fit for 55 Package

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Directive on aviation’s contribution to the Union’s economy-wide emission reduction target and appropriately implementing a global market-based measure. (press release)

Problem: Since 1990, CO2 emissions in the aviation sector have risen steadily and thus have a considerable impact on the rising global carbon footprint. Following the tightening of the climate targets, it is important to improve the measures in this area, as a large amount of pollution allowances have so far been allocated free of charge in the aviation sector, which undermines the purpose of allowance trading.

Objective: This proposal for a Directive introduces amendments to the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) relating to its application to aviation and to ensure that: (1) aviation contributes to the 2030 emissions reduction target in line with the European Green Deal Plan; (2) the EU ETS is amended accordingly in relation to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation; and (3) the allocation of emissions allowances for aviation is revised with a view to increasing auctioning to ensure that emissions are priced appropriately.

Subject Matter: To implement the targets, the Directive aims to: (1) consolidate the total quantity of aviation allowances at current levels and apply the linear reduction factor under Article 9 of the ETS Directive; (2) increase the auctioning share of aviation allowances; (3) continue the application of the intra-EU ETS with the simultaneous application of CORSIA to non-European flights; and (4) ensure that air carriers on the same routes are treated equally with respect to their economically significant obligations. CO2 emissions from the following types of flights are to be excluded from this directive: government flights, humanitarian flights, medical flights, military flights, and firefighting flights. In addition, an exemption from the EU ETS shall be granted until December 31, 2023, for emissions from flights between an aerodrome in an outermost region of a member state to an aerodrome in the same member state.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on establishing a carbon border adjustment mechanism. (press release)

Problem: Due to differing climate protection targets and climate ambitions worldwide, there is a risk that CO2 emissions that are reduced and saved within the EU will be relocated to third countries. This threatens to happen if companies relocate their production to other countries with less stringent emissions regulations. Without targeted measures to stop this mechanism, carbon leakage could cause overall global emissions to continue to rise.

Objective: The purpose of this proposed regulation is to establish a border carbon offset mechanism (CBAM). The CBAM is intended to complement the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading system in the Union established by Directive 2003/87/EC by applying equivalent rules to imports of cement, electricity, fertilizer, iron and steel, and aluminum into the customs territory of the Union. This is to ensure that the CO2 content of imported goods is reflected in the price. In this context, the EU will approach third countries to negotiate specific agreements regarding the system.

Subject matter: Goods may only be imported upon application for approval by a declarant. Each approved declarant submits a "CBAM declaration" to the competent authority by the 31st of May each year, in which the total quantity of the imported goods and the associated (grey) emissions in tons must be stated. Once a declaration has been made, CBAM allowances are to be sold by competent authorities in each member country to authorized declarants at a price determined by the Commission on a weekly basis. Each authorized declarant would then be required to surrender allowances in the national registry. If, by 30th of June of each year, there are any allowances remaining in a declarant's account after surrender, the competent authorities are required to cancel and, if necessary, buy back the remaining allowances. During a transitional period of three years (planned from 1st of January 2023 to 31st of December 2025), a carbon offset system will apply without financial adjustment. It is intended to serve as a vehicle of collecting initial data and raising awareness among registrants.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by member states from 2021 to 2030 contributing to climate action to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement. (press release)

Problem: In order to be consistent with the binding targets of the Climate Change Act, the total amount of annual greenhouse gas emission reduction targets needs to be increased by ten percentage points and in order to make this possible, the Burden Sharing Regulation (ESR) needs to be adapted.

Objective: This proposed Regulation aims to increase the national and collective emission reduction targets covered by the European Burden Sharing Regulation (ESR), which has been in place since 2018. This includes standardizing national targets with an EU-wide reduction of 40 percent in the ESR sectors by 2030, in exchange for each member state making its individual contribution to the overall EU reduction, with reduction targets between -10 and -50 percent below 2005 levels.

Subject Matter: To implement the targets, the five-year compliance periods of the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation will allow member states to gain more flexibility and transfer unused credits from the ESR sector to the LULUCF sectors. Thus, the scope of sectors covered by the Burden Sharing Regulation expands. The establishment of an additional mechanism in the form of a reserve is intended to allow unused LULUCF credits, at the end of the second compliance period, to be transferred to the member states that need them. However, the use of this reserve will depend on over-achievement in the LULUCF sector and is not mandatory for member states. In addition, the Regulation relies on robust monitoring, reporting and verification frameworks. Within six months of each global stock take (under Article 14 of the Paris Agreement), the Commission would be required to submit a report to the Council and Parliament on the application of the Regulation. The calculation of future member state-specific emission allocations will be based on existing greenhouse gas emission data from previous years. This process will continue in the coming years, so that the Commission will also review the emission data for 2021, 2022 and 2023 and it will subsequently serve as the basis for calculation, which will further improve the accuracy of the targets.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Directive on promoting energy from renewable sources. (press release)

Problem: In order to achieve the EU's goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050, the European Commission has set itself the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions) by 55 percent by 2030. This, in turn, requires a higher share of renewable energy sources in an integrated energy system, which is why the current RED II expansion targets of at least 32 percent are not sufficient.

Objective: The current Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) is to be revised to bring it in line with the goals of the Climate Target Plan (CTP). Therefore, the current targets of RED II are to be raised so that by 2030 the share of renewable energy increases to 38-40 percent.

Subject matter: To achieve the targets, this Directive aims to (1) promote joint projects among member states and have them in place no later than 31st of December 2025; and (2) implement more transparency by transmission and distribution system operators on their renewable energy and GHG emissions shares. In addition, manufacturers of household and industrial batteries are to provide basic information on the battery management system, and the same applies to automotive production. Moreover, (3) the proportion of renewable energy in the building sector is to be increased to 49 percent by 2030; (4) the proportion of renewable energy in industry is to be increased by 49 percent by 2030, and 50 percent of renewable fuels are to be hydrogen-based. (5) In addition, reduce GHG emissions in the transport sector by at least 13 percentage points by 2030 with the help of renewable energy; and (6) to establish a Union database to record liquid and gaseous fuels, as well as recycled carbon fuels. To implement the Directive, member states will be required to bring into force necessary national laws, regulations and administrative provisions no later than the 31st of December 2024.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Directive on energy efficiency. (press release)

Problem: Energy efficiency is a key area of action to achieve full decarbonization of the Union's economy. The overall national contributions reported by member states in the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) fall short of the Union's 2030 target of 32.5 percent, even though the 2020 energy efficiency target was met due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Objective: The proposed amendments to the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) aim to set rules for member states to implement energy efficiency as a priority in all sectors especially in the public sector. Furthermore, it aims to remove barriers in the energy market and to create a principle of prioritizing energy efficiency. The elementary target for energy efficiency is to reduce energy consumption in 2030 by at least 9 percent compared to the projections of the 2020 reference scenario, so that the Union's final energy consumption does not exceed 787 Mtoe and the Union's primary energy consumption does not exceed 1023 Mtoe in 2030.

Subject matter: Using the "energy efficiency first" principle, member states shall ensure that energy efficiency solutions are taken into account in policy and investment decisions in energy system sectors as well as in non-energy sectors where they have an indirect impact on energy consumption and energy efficiency. In the form of a report to the Commission as part of the integrated national energy and climate progress reports, member states should provide information on their indicative national energy efficiency contributions. This includes, among other things, (1) a stronger commitment by the public sector to reduce its energy consumption by 1.7 percent annually, (2) a tightening of public procurement rules, and (3) a renovation obligation of at least 3 percent of the total heated and/or cooled floor area of buildings (larger than 250 m2) of public facilities. In addition, (4) an increase of the annual energy savings obligations for all member states to 1.5 percent from 2024 and specific measures to reduce energy poverty. (5) With the help of an energy obligation system, member states are to oblige domestic companies with a certain average energy consumption to introduce an energy management system. (6) The heating and cooling supply system shall be strengthened in accordance with the subsidiarity principle, especially at the regional level, by establishing local plans for heating and cooling supply. In a staggered system, the ultimate goal is to use only renewable energy and waste heat by 2050.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on the scope, simplifying the compliance rules, setting out the targets of the member states for 2030 and committing to the collective achievement of climate neutrality by 2035 in the land use, forestry and agricultural sector. (press release)

Problem: Due to an increased demand for wood and the general aging of forests, as well as damage caused by natural disasters and the lack of political and financial will, lead to an decline of CO2 removals in the land use sector. Furthermore, the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector is not sufficiently included in climate policy because there are no integrated targets for the LULUCF sector and agriculture.

Objective: The amendments to the Regulation are to set the overall Union target for net removals of greenhouse gases in the LULUCF sector at 310 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2030 and the Union target in the land use sector (which combines the LULUCF sector and the non-CO2 agriculture sector) to achieve climate neutrality by 2035. After 2035, only negative emissions are to be produced.

Subject matter: To achieve Union-wide removals of greenhouse gases in the LULUCF sector, binding national annual targets are to be implemented. In 2025, based on the results of a comprehensive review of the reported greenhouse gas inventory, the Commission is to adopt an implementing act setting annual targets based on verified emissions and removals in 2021, 2022, and 2023 for each member state. After the end of the period from 2021 to 2025, member states cannot carry over GHG surplus removals to another period (“no-debit rule”). Although, part of the surplus removals of member states will be transferred to a flexibility mechanism for the period 2026-2030, which will allow the redistribution of unused offsets of managed forest land among member states. In addition, the scope of the mechanism is to expand from forest land to all relevant land. To achieve the common targets, member states are to be required to submit their contribution to the Commission by June 2024 in their updated integrated national energy and climate plans.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Council Directive on restructuring the Union framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity. (press release)

Problem: Since the adoption of an EU "Energy Taxation Directive" in 2003, the underlying climate and energy policy framework has fundamentally changed and the Directive is no longer in line with the EU's climate and energy objectives.

Objective: The proposed Directive aims to ensure that the Tax Directive plays a direct role in supporting Just Transition by using the Directive to create a tax structure that eliminates the disadvantage of clean technologies and introduces higher taxes on inefficient and polluting fuels. Increased taxes will complement carbon pricing through emissions trading by switching from a quantity-based to an energy content-based taxation.

Subject matter: To implement energy content-based taxation, a ranking of energy products is to be established. For this purpose, energy products (used as fuel or heating fuel and electricity) are to be divided into categories and ranked according to their environmental performance. As a basis, the taxation is calculated in Euro/gigajoule on the basis of the lower net heat unit of the energy products and electric power. The classification is divided into four groups: (1) Conventional fossil fuels, such as gas, oil, and gasoline, which are to be taxed at the highest rate; (2) Fossil-based fuels, but which are less harmful and can contribute to decarbonization in the short and medium term; (3) Sustainable but not advanced biofuels; and (4) The electric power, advanced biofuels, bioliquids, biogases, and hydrogen from renewable sources, which are to be taxed at the lowest rate. Member states are required to comply with the established minimum tax amounts for each group. The minimum tax amounts start at zero and increase each year by one-tenth of the final minimum rate.
Exemptions from taxation apply to: (1) taxation of energy products in intra-EU air transport on cargo-only flights; (2) shipping, as tax rates applicable within the EU may be applied to or exempted from shipping outside the EU, depending on the nature of the activity; (3) charities entitled to reductions, limited to use for non-business purposes; (4) products and electricity used by households recognized as vulnerable, which will be exempt for a maximum period of ten years after the entry into force of this Directive; (5) taxable products used under fiscal control in the framework of pilot projects for the technological development of more environmentally friendly products or in connection with fuels from renewable energy sources.
Member States shall be obliged to adopt the necessary laws, regulations and administrative provisions by 31st of December 2022. The minimum levels of taxation laid down in this Directive are to be adjusted annually from 1st of January 2024 to take account of the changes in the harmonized index of consumer prices excluding energy and unprocessed food published by Eurostat.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure. (press release)

Problem: The existing Directive 2014/94/EU on the development of alternative fuels infrastructure for mobility and transport needs to be revised due to its shortcomings. The directive does not include a detailed and binding methodology for calculating targets and adopting measures.

Objective: This Regulation aims to create a comprehensive network of refueling station infrastructures based on a geographically equitable distribution to enable the widespread introduction of low- and zero-emission vehicles in all modes of transport. To this end, binding national targets are to be set for the development of sufficient alternative fuel infrastructure for road vehicles, ships and stationary aircraft. In particular, a minimum level of infrastructure should be ensured to support the necessary the required uptake of alternative fuel vehicles in all modes of transport and in all member states.

Subject matter: Different targets shall apply to the implementation of the infrastructures of the different alternative fuels: (1) For electric vehicles, member states shall be required to establish publicly accessible charging pools for light and heavy duty vehicles in each direction of travel within a maximum distance of 60 km along the TEN-T core network. Member states shall also ensure that airport operators are able to provide power supply for commercial electric air transport by the beginning of 2025. (2) For hydrogen refueling infrastructure, member states shall ensure that hydrogen refueling stations with a minimum capacity of 2 t/day and with at least 700 bar dispensers are equipped at a maximum distance of 150 km along the TEN-T core network by the end of 2030. (3) For liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure, an adequate number of refueling stations for road vehicles (heavy duty vehicles) shall be established by early 2025, unless the costs are disproportionate to the (environmental) benefits; the same applies to LNG refueling stations in seaports. (4) For shore-side electricity supply, a minimum of shore-side electricity supply for sea container and passenger vessels shall be provided in seaports by early 2030. By 1st of January 2030, all TEN-T networks shall have at least one shore-side electricity supply facility for inland vessels.
To meet the targets, member states are to create a national strategy framework and submit the draft to the Commission by 1st January 2024. By 1st of January 2027, member states are required to submit an independent progress report to the Commission.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on strenghening CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles. (press release)

Problem: The automotive industry is of key importance when it comes to meeting the Union’s climate targets, as transport is the only sector to have recorded consistently rising greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. The automotive sector is undergoing a significant structural change, towards zero and low emission technologies, yet car manufacturers must be able to maintain their market position in the face of international competition.

Objective: This proposal aims to reduce CO2 emissions from newly registered passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. CO2 emission standards shall help the automotive industry to increase its ambitions in terms of technological inventions and to direct more investments towards zero-emission technologies. In addition, the standards should increase the supply of zero-emission vehicles and thus make more affordable zero-emission vehicle models available to consumers.

Subject matter: From 2030, the EU-wide fleet target for reducing CO2 emissions from new passenger cars will be 55 percent and for light commercial vehicles 50 percent. These levels are considered a percentage reduction from the 2021 baseline, and the 2021 baseline is to be published by the Commission by 31st October 2022. From 2035, the fleet target values for reducing CO2 emissions are to increase to 100 percent. To review the measures, member states are to be required to report CO2 emissions and mass of newly registered passenger cars and light commercial vehicles to the Commission annually. In addition, from 2022, manufacturers and competent authorities shall report data on actual fuel and energy consumption. In cooperation with the European Environment Agency (EEA), the Commission is scheduled to publish annually the final monitoring data of the previous calendar year. The Commission shall prepare progress reports on the development towards zero-emission mobility in road transport by 31st of December2025, and every two years thereafter.

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Proposal: On the 15th of December 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the energy performance of buildings (press release).

Problem: With buildings accounting for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, the EU must act to meet its climate targets. In the EU, 80% of household energy consumption is for heating, cooling and water heating. Therefore, buildings in the EU need to be renovated to become more energy efficient and less dependent on fossil fuels. Renovation is key to reducing building energy consumption, lowering emissions, and reducing energy bills.

Objective: The main objectives of this revision are reducing buildings’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and final energy consumption by 2030 and setting a long- term vision for buildings towards EU-wide climate neutrality in 2050. To achieve this, the specific goals are to increase the rate and depth of building retrofits, improve information on building energy efficiency and sustainability, and ensure that all buildings meet carbon neutrality requirements by 2050. Important levers here are strengthening financing and modernization and system integration.

Subject matter: Directive 2010/31/EU is amended as follows: first, a new definition of "zero-emissions building" is introduced. This covers buildings that have a very high energy performance and whose energy needs are met entirely by energy from renewable sources. Furthermore, the national building renovation plans will be made more operational. The monitoring framework will be strengthened by introducing an evaluation of the draft national building renovation plans by the Commission and the issuing of recommendations. The methodology for calculating the energy performance of buildings is updated to clarify the energy performance and ensure the correctness of the calculated energy consumption. It also aligns the calculation of the cost-optimal level with the Green Deal and specifies that the cost of greenhouse gas allowances and environmental and health externalities of energy use must be considered in determining the lowest cost. The new regulations on new buildings include that (1) starting in 2030, new buildings and new public buildings starting in 2027 must be emission-free. (2) That the life-cycle global warming potential (GWP) of new buildings from 2030 onwards must be calculated in accordance with the tier framework, so as to inform the full life-cycle of emissions from new buildings. (3) That Member States consider important aspects of new buildings beyond energy performance, namely a healthy indoor environment, adaptation to climate change, fire safety, risks associated with strong seismic activity, and accessibility for people with disabilities. By classifying the energy performance of buildings and focusing the financing and renovation of buildings with the worst energy performance, the aim is to ensure that efforts are focused on buildings with the greatest potential for decarbonization, tackling energy poverty and extended social and economic benefits. In addition, a voluntary renovation passport will be introduced to better support building owners who plan to renovate their building step by step. Furthermore, bureaucratic obstacles regarding renovation are to be reduced and higher financial incentives and technical support measures for in-depth renovation projects are to be introduced. Member States are responsible for monitoring compliance with minimum energy performance standards.

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Proposal: On the 15th of December 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Directive and a Regulation on common rules for the internal markets in renewable and natural gases and in hydrogen. (press release)

Problem: In order to reduce the use of fossil fuels and increase the use of renewable energy sources, it is necessary to transit the gas sector towards low-carbon and renewable gas. Fossil gas constitutes around 95 per cent of today’s gaseous fuels consumed in the EU, and gaseous fuels account for roughly 22 per cent of the total EU energy consumption today. Therefore, it is necessary to create a market design which removes existing regulatory barriers and creates cost-effective transition conditions. Increasing energy prices showed that the resilience of the European energy system is increasingly important as the EU energy system integrates more decentralised renewable energy.

Objective: This Directive aims to facilitate the penetration of renewable and low-carbon gases into the energy system. Therefore, it addresses following areas: (1) low level of customer engagement and protection in the green gas retail market, (2) hydrogen infrastructure and hydrogen markets, (3) Renewable and low-carbon gases in the existing gas infrastructure and markets, and energy security, (4) network planning, and (5) security of supply and storage.

Subject matter: In order to address (1) the low level of customer engagement, the green gas retail market shall be enabled to empower customers to make renewable and low-carbon choices. Therefore, customers shall be provided with sufficient information on their energy consumption. Member states should also take measures to protect vulnerable and energy poor customers. To overcome (2) the barriers in the hydrogen market, a harmonized system of terminology and certification of low hydrogen and low carbon fuels shall be implemented. For (3) accessing the gas wholesale market and mitigating trading barriers, costs for cross-border trade shall be abolished as well as a revision of the gas quality rules regarding the access to LNG terminals. (4) For a well-coordinated planning and operation of the EU energy section, the EU-wide ten-year network development plan (TYNDP) and national network development plan (NDP) need to be better coordinated and linked. It shall allow transnational exchange of information on transmission system usage. (5) To increase the resilience of the EU energy system, member states shall be required to make storages part of their security of supply risks assessments. Moreover, this Directive shall enable conditions to deployment of voluntary joint procurements of gas stocks to be used in case of an emergency. Furthermore, the Directive and the Regulation focus specifically on provisions which require additional resources for ACER (Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators) and DG Energy. The Regulation and Directive shall apply from 2023 onwards.

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Proposal: On the 15th of December, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on methane emissions reduction in the energy sector (press release).

Problem: Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and responsible for about a third of current climate warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) notes that deep reductions in methane emissions must be achieved by 2030 for the world to stay below the 1.5°C (or even the 2°C) 2050 global temperature target. They also underline the role of methane as one of the main greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. The 2030 Climate Target Plan’s impact assessment indicates that in the EU the most cost-effective methane emission savings can be achieved in the energy sector.

Objective: The Commission aims to preserve and improve the environment by reducing methane emissions from fossil energy produced or consumed in the Union while ensuring the functioning of the internal market for energy. Therefore, the Commission wants to (1) improve the accuracy of information on the main sources of methane emissions associated with energy produced and consumed within the EU, (2) tackle market failures leading to insufficient mitigation of methane emissions by companies, and (3) improve the availability of information to provide incentives for the reduction of methane emissions related to fossil energy imported to the EU.

Subject matter: This Regulation includes the coal, oil and gas sectors. Each Member State shall designate one or more competent authorities responsible for monitoring and enforcing the application of this Regulation. Therefore, emissions reports shall be submitted by operators. With the help of a new EU regulatory framework the highest standard for measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) methane emissions shall be ensured. The new rules would require companies to measure and quantify their methane emissions at source at the facility level and to conduct comprehensive surveys to identify and repair methane leaks from their operations. In addition, the proposal prohibits venting and flaring practices that release methane into the atmosphere, except in narrowly defined circumstances. Member States should also establish emission reduction plans that take into account methane mitigation and measurement from abandoned mines and inactive wells.
In order to mitigate methane emissions outside the union, a transparency database shall be established. Importers of fossil fuels shall be required to submit information about how their suppliers perform measurement, reporting and verification of their emissions and how they mitigate those emissions.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal20 for a Regulation on establishing a Socila Climate Fund. (press release6)

Problem: The European climate targets and the associated CO2 pricing are accompanied by significant social and distributional impacts that may disproportionately affect financially weaker households, micro-enterprises and transport participants who spend a larger share of their income on energy and transport.

Objective: The Climate Social Fund (Fund) aims to mitigate the social and distributional impacts of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for the buildings and road transport sectors, which were not previously included in the ETS, on the most vulnerable populations. Member states shall receive funding to support their actions to address the social impacts of the ETS on financially vulnerable households, micro-enterprises and transport users.

Subject matter: Member states are to identify measures and investments in climate social plans and submit them by the end of 2024 along with their updates to the integrated national energy and climate plan. The plans are to include measures such as temporary income support to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in the medium to long term. They also aim to increase the energy efficiency of buildings, promote the decarbonization of heating and cooling, and provide access to zero- and low-emission mobility. If the plans are evaluated positively, the Commission and the respective member state reach an agreement to enter into an individual legal commitment. If a plan does not meet the intended criteria, no funding is to be allocated until the plan is amended.
The fund's financial envelope is 23.7 billion Euro for 2025-2027 and 48.5 billion Euro for 2028-2032, representing 25 percent of the expected revenue from the sale of emissions trading allowances for the buildings and transport sectors. 50 percent of the climate social plans are to be financed by the member states themselves.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on ensuring a level playing field for sustainable air transport. (press release)

Problem: To meet the EU's climate targets, air traffic must become more sustainable. Furthermore, aviation fuel prices currently vary widely across the Union. As a result, many aircraft operators fill up with more aviation fuel than necessary in order to avoid partial or full refueling at the destination airport, where aviation fuel is more expensive. This practice is referred to as "fuel tankering." This results in higher fuel consumption than necessary and thus higher emissions, and undermines fair competition in the Union aviation market. With the Union's efforts to spread the use of sustainable aviation fuels and the resulting increase in costs for aircraft operators, the practice of "fuel tankering" is expected to increase.

Objective: This Regulation aims to restore a level playing field in the aviation sector while avoiding harmful environmental impacts. Therefore, this proposal establishes rules to ensure a gradually increasing share of sustainable aviation fuels without adverse effects on the competitiveness of the EU internal aviation market.

Subject matter: To implement the Regulation, (1) aviation fuel suppliers would be required to ensure that any aviation fuel offered to aircraft operators at Union airports contains a minimum proportion of sustainable aviation fuel, including a minimum proportion of synthetic fuel. In addition, (2) aircraft operators shall ensure that the annual volume of aviation fuel dispensed at a particular Union airport is at least 90 percent of the annual aviation fuel requirement. To enable aircraft operators to use sustainable aviation fuels, it would (3) require Union airports to provide the necessary infrastructure. In addition, (4) a transition period of 5 years shall allow aviation fuel suppliers to make an appropriate transition to the integration of sustainable aviation fuels.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on the use of renewable and low-carbon fuels in maritime transport. (press release)

Problem: Fuel consumption in the maritime sector is currently based exclusively on fossil fuels. This is due to the lack of affordable and usable technological alternatives to fossil fuels and insufficient incentives for operators to reduce emissions.

Objective: This Regulation proposes a common regulatory framework to increase the share of renewable and low-carbon fuels in the fuel mix of international maritime transport, without creating barriers to the internal market.

Subject matter: To implement this Regulation, limit values are to be set for the annual average greenhouse gas intensity of the energy consumed on board of a ship. These are staggered and amount to two percent in 2025 and increase to 75 percent reduction to the reference value by 2050, which will be calculated in a later phase of the legislative process. In addition, container ships and passenger ships are to be required to use shore-side electricity or zero-emission energy at berth from 1st of January 2030. To verify emissions, shipping companies are to submit a comprehensive monitoring concept for each of their ships to the responsible inspection body by 31st of August 2024. The monitoring concepts are to be regularly reviewed with regard to their functioning. Furthermore, the Regulation governs the certification of biofuels, biogas, liquid and gaseous renewable fuels of non-biogenic origin and recycled carbon-containing fuels.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Decision amending Decision (EU) 2015/1814 as regards the amount of allowances to be placed in the market stability reserve for the Union greenhouse gas emission trading scheme until 2030. (press release)

Problem: In order to address the structural imbalance between supply and demand and improve the resilience of the EU ETS to major shocks, the Decision (EU) 2015/1814 of the European Parliament and of the Council (MSR Decision) established a Market Stability Reserve (the MSR) in 2018. The MSR became operational in 2019 and functions by adjusting annual auction volumes. The changes to the EU ETS to increase ambition for 2030, as well as the impact of external factors such as COVID-19 or national measures such as coal phase-outs, mean that the basic rules of the MSR must remain fit to continue tackling structural supply-demand imbalances.

Objective: The purpose of this Decision is to ensure that there is no reduction in the uptake rate of the MSR from 2024 onwards.

Subject matter: From 2024, the current MSR uptake rate of 24 percent and the minimum quantity of 200 million allowances in the reserve should continue to apply.

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Proposal: On the 14th of July 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Decision amending Directive 2003/87/EC as regards the notification of offsetting in respect of a global market-based measure for aircraft operators based in the Union. (press release)

Problem: The COVID 19 pandemic has had a particularly severe impact on air traffic. According to the forecast of the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, its full recovery is not expected before 2024. In the wake of this event, CO2 emissions in this sector have also fallen sharply and will remain relatively low until international air traffic recovers, making 2020 unsuitable as a reference value for the CORSIA scheme in 2021 (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation; an internationally operating emissions compensation mechanism). Therefore, the ICAO Council decided that instead, aircraft operators should use 2019 emissions to calculate their compensations. Thus, a revision of the EU Decisions is needed to ensure that the EU ETS continues to function in accordance with the CORSIA system.

Objective: This proposal aims to amend existing rules of the EU ETS for the aviation sector for the year 2021. This is to be accompanied by minimizing the administrative burden for national authorities and air carriers.

Subject matter: In accordance with CORSIA guidelines and recommendations, EU member states are to calculate each airline's 2021 emissions offsets and report them to the airlines by 30th of November 2022. After that, these airlines should cancel or surrender the corresponding number of credits by 31st of January 2025. The Decision is to be issued after 1st of January 2022, in other words, after the total amount of emissions in 2021 is announced.

Circular Economy Package

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Proposal: On the 30th of March 2022, the Commission published a proposal for a Regulation establishing a framework for setting ecodesign requirements for sustainable products (press release).

Problem: Globally, half of all greenhouse gas emissions and 90 per cent of biodiversity loss are caused by extracting and processing primary raw materials. In order for the EU to succeed in the transition to a resource-efficient, climate-neutral and pollution-free circular economy, it is necessary that the EU takes up a new approach to the way products are designed, made and used.

Objective: The main objectives of this Regulation are to reduce the negative environmental impacts of products during their life cycle and to improve the functioning of the internal market. This Regulation also contributes to the objectives of the EU's industrial policy, which aims to increase the supply of and demand for sustainable goods, promote sustainable production and ensure a level playing field for products sold in the internal market.

Subject matter: This proposal establishes a framework for setting ecodesign requirements based on the sustainability and circular economy aspects listed in the Circular Economy Action Plan. These requirements include durability and reliability, reusability, upgradability, repairability, and the possibility of maintenance and refurbishment, the presence of substances of concern, energy, and resource efficiency and recycled content. Only a few sectors, such as food, feed and pharmaceuticals, are exempt from this Regulation. A new digital product passport aims to provide information on the environmental sustainability of products. The passport can help consumers and businesses make informed choices when buying products. It can also help authorities to better carry out verifications and controls. In addition, this proposal provides for a general obligation of transparency for economic operators disposing of unsold consumer products. It also provides for the possibility to adopt delegated acts to prohibit economic operators from destroying unsold consumer products.

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Non-legislative, Q4 2021.

Biodiversity and Toxic-Free Environment Package

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Non-legislative Act: On the 25th of March 2021, the Commission published an Action Plan to promote organic products. (Press release)

Problem: Farmers in particular are at the forefront of the fight against climate change. They are particularly affected by the consequences of climate change and biodiversity loss, while unsustainable agricultural practice remains a major driver of biodiversity loss.

Objective: With the help of this Action plan, at least 25 per cent of the agricultural land in the EU shall be farmed organically by 2030 and a significant increase in organic aquaculture is to be achieved. The aim is to reconcile food production with environmental protection while spurring investment and sustainable production.

Subject matter: To accomplish the goal, the Commission wants to encourage more farmers to cultivate sustainably and, as a result, to promote the consumption of organic food. In addition, at least 30 percent of the funding for research and innovation activities in agriculture, forestry and rural areas shall be allocated to topics related to the organic sector. Furthermore all member states shall develop national strategies. In doing so, member states should outline how they intend to contribute to the EU-wide targets by conducting comprehensive analyses of the sector and setting appropriate measures, incentives, clear deadlines and national targets. The Commission will support member states in the process and will monitor the progress. The Action plan is set up for the years 2021 to 2027. During this period, 23 measures are to be implemented to achieve the targets. In spring 2021, the Commission aims to present new strategic guidelines for the sustainable development of EU aquaculture.

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Proposal: On the 17th of November 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on the making available on the Union market as well as export from the Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation (press release).

Problem: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that 420 million hectares of forest – about 10% of the world’s remaining forests and an area larger than the European Union – have been lost worldwide between 1990 and 2020. The main driver of these processes is agricultural expansion linked to the commodities soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa and coffee, and some of their derived products. Moreover, deforestation and forest degradation increase greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing climate change resilience of the affected areas and substantially reducing its biodiversity.

Objective: The proposal aims to implement rules to guarantee that the products that EU citizens buy, use and consume on the EU market do not contribute to global deforestation and forest degradation. Prohibition and obligations of operators and non-SMEs traders shall function as an entry permit for the union market.

Subject Matter: operators and non-SMEs traders shall be obligated to submit a due diligence statement prior to placing commodities and products on the Union market or exporting therefrom. Therefore, operators and non-SMEs traders shall gather all relevant information. This includes geographic coordinates of all the plots of land where the relevant commodities and products were produced. They shall identify and assess the risk of possible non-compliance of relevant commodities and products and, if necessary, mitigate such risks. If there is no access to the relevant information or the risk cannot be mitigated to a negligible level, the operator shall not place the relevant commodities or products on the EU market. Additionally, reference shall be made in the customs declaration to the due diligence statement, which will allow the necessary close cooperation between customs authorities and competent authorities. Traders which are SMEs are required to collect a record of their suppliers and customers, keep that information for at least five years and make such information available to competent authorities upon request. Member states shall be obligated to report on the implementation of the proposed Regulation every year after entry into force.

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Non-legislative Act: On the 12th of May 2021, the Commission published a Communication in which it presented an Action plan to make air, water and soil pollution-free. (Press release)

Problem: Climate change, pollution and loss of biodiversity pose a threat to the health of humans, animals and ecosystems. This threat comes in various of forms, such as water scarcity, mass extinction of species, or causing diseases. Therefore, it is necessary that the pollution of air, water and soil, as well as consumer products in the EU can be better monitored, prevented and eliminated.

Objective: The goal of the action plan is to realize the zero-pollution vision for 2050 and in this way create synergies of already existing strategies. This is to reduce the pollution of air, water and soil to a level that is no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems and respects the acceptable limits for our planet, creating a pollution-free environment

Subject matter: As a first step, this action plan sets key targets to be achieved by 2030 to accelerate the reduction of pollutants. In addition, more key actions are outlined for the period 2021-2024 to complement. To implement the target, a "zero pollution hierarchy" shall be established. This shall serve to ensure that EU environmental policy is based on the principles of care and prevention, the principle of tackling environmental damage primarily at its source, and the polluter pays principle. This means that environmental pollution should first be prevented at source. If this is not possible, they should nevertheless be minimized, and if pollution has already occurred, it must be eliminated and the damage caused compensated. By 2025, the Commission is to take stock of the implementation of the action plan.

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Proposal: On the 22nd of June 2022, the European Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on nature restoration (press release).

Problem: The loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems continue at an alarming rate, despite EU and international action, continue to harm people, the economy, and the climate. The 2022 IPCC report further highlighted that there is solely a brief, rapidly closing window to secure a livable future. Additionally, current geo-political developments have underlined the need to safeguard food security and the resilience of food systems. There is a need to address vulnerabilities, such as dependencies on imports, as well as to accelerate the transition towards food systems that are sustainable and resilient.

Objective: The key premise of the proposal is to contribute to the continuous, long-term and sustained recovery of biodiverse and resilient nature across the EU’s land and sea areas by restoring ecosystems and to contribute to achieving Union climate mitigation and climate adaptation objectives and meet its international commitments. Specific objectives mention the urgency to restore degraded ecosystems across the EU to good condition by 2050, and put them on the path to recovery by 2030. Once restored, ecosystems should be maintained in good condition. Thus, the Commission lays ground for legally binding targets to restore and maintain ecosystems in good condition. Establishing an effective framework will ensure implementation in particular by the obligation for the member states to assess ecosystems and to set up a National Restoration Plan, as well as for reporting and review.

Subject Matter: The implementation of the proposal will be monitored through restoration and re-establishment measures put in place by the member states. The condition and conservation status of ecosystems will additionally be recorded at national and/or regional level. Between 2022 and 2023, the Commission shall collaborate with the EEA and the member states to develop a methodology for assessing the condition of ecosystems for which monitoring and baselines are not yet available. Moreover, member states will be allowed guidance on restoration measures and restoration management practices by the Commission until 2024. After the regulations’ entry into force, the Commission shall adopt a uniform format for the National Restoration Plans and a reporting format. Member states shall start assessing the ecosystems in terms of areas of the ecosystem in good condition, in degraded condition, that were lost over the last 70 years and areas that would be most suitable for re-establishment of the ecosystem. The EEA will further develop formats and information system for National Restoration Plans, in addition to a format and information system for periodical reporting on the measures implemented and on the condition of ecosystems and the species populations.

  Sustainable and Smart Mobility

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Proposal: On the 14th of December 2021, the Commission presented a Proposal for a Directive amendment on the framework for the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems in road transport and for their interfaces with other transport modes. (press release)

Problem: Digitalization is crucial factor for the sustainable change in the transport and mobility sector. The entire transport system can be made seamless and more efficient through digitalization. Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in particular play an essential role in this. ITS have the potential to significantly improve road safety, traffic efficiency and driving comfort. However, the current Directive does not go far enough and the lack of interoperability and coordination in ITS deployment results in uneconomic risks for ITS deployments.

Objective: This revision of the Directive aims to facilitate the deployment of ITS and thus make an important contribution to the Green Deal objective of efficient, safe, sustainable, intelligent and resilient mobility. New sustainable transport and mobility services should reduce congestion and pollution and improve road safety. Efficiently coordinated data exchange should ensure that transport chains are made more sustainable and efficient.

Subject matter: To ensure a coordinated and effective deployment of ITS services, binding requirements and specifications are to be imposed on the member states. These are regulations on conformity assessment and market surveillance, as well as on data provision. For the provision of data, the NAPs (National Action Plans) in particular are to function as a significant component of the common European Mobility Data Space. 12 months after the entry into force of the Directive, the Member States shall be obliged to submit a report on the implementation of the Directive. Thereafter, Member States shall submit implementation reports every three years. At the latest 18 months after the entry into force of the Directive, Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with it.

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Amendment: In the context of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, the Commission has adapted its Proposal from December 2021. Accordingly, four European transport corridors are to be extended to the territory of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova - including the ports of Mariupol and Odessa. At the same time, the amended proposal removes Russia and Belarus from the TEN-T maps, as cooperation with these countries is not currently in the EU's interest. Finally, the proposal specifies that newly built lines in member states that share a land border with another member state must be built with the European standard gauge. The member states are requested to plan the conversion of existing railroad lines to the European standard gauge as far as this is economically justified (press release).

Proposal: On the 14th of December 2021, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network and is therefore revising Regulation (EU) 1315/2013. (press release)

Problem: The current Regulation shows insufficient and incomplete TEN-T infrastructure standards and a lack of integration of standards for alternative fuels infrastructure. Moreover, it doesn’t offer a sufficient network connectivity to all regions and a comprehensive safety and reliability of the TEN-T infrastructure.

Objective: The aim of the TEN-T Regulation is to build an effective EU-wide and multimodal network of rail, inland waterways, short sea shipping routes and roads which are linked to urban nodes, maritime and inland ports, airports and terminals across the EU. Therefore, this Regulation aims at reaching four main objectives: (1) Making transport greener by providing appropriate infrastructure, (2) Facilitating seamless and efficient transport, promoting multimodality and interoperability between TEN-T modes and better integration of urban nodes into the network, (3) increasing the resilience of TEN-T to climate change and other natural hazards or human-made disasters, and (4) improving the efficiency of the TEN-T governance tools.

Subject matter: The four objectives are taken up in each transport sector. Thus, sector-specific measures are being required. This includes a general greater use of sustainable modes of transport, an accessibility and connectivity of all regions of the Union and removing infrastructure quality and digitalization gaps between the member states. For a seamless and feasible transition, interim targets for 2030 and 2040 have been set. The trans-European transport network shall be gradually developed in three steps: the completion of a core network by the 31st December 2030, of an extended core network by 31st December 2040 and the comprehensive network by 31st December 2050. Concrete measures for the rail network are to ensure that railway transport infrastructure shall be fully electrified until the end of 2050 and until the end of 2040, the prevailing minimum line speed for passenger trains shall be 160 km/h. The Waterway transport Infrastructure is to be improved to the effect that canals and rivers shall ensure good navigation conditions, unhindered for example by water levels, for a minimum number of days per year. For the maritime infrastructure, alternative fuels infrastructure are to be deployed in maritime ports and maritime ports shall be connected with the rail and road infrastructure. The air transport infrastructure requires a good working connection of the airports to the long-distance rail network. Member states shall be required to develop Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans to promote zero-emission mobility and to increase and improve public transport and infrastructure for walking and cycling by the end of 2025. With the help of the European Transport Corridors, the coordinated implementation of parts of the trans-European transport network shall be facilitated, and it shall improve cross-border links.

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Nicht legislativ und legislativ, einschließlich Folgenabschätzung, Artikel 91 AEUV, 3. Quartal 2021.
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Legislativ, einschließlich Folgenabschätzung, Artikel 114 AEUV, 4. Quartal 2021.

European Commission Work Programme 2020

The European Green Deal

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Non-legislative-Act: On the 11th of December 2019, the Commission published a Communication on the European Green Deal (press release).

Problem: The rapid progress of climate change requires ambitious action in addressing climate and environmental challenges. Every year, the temperature of the atmosphere rises, one million of the eight million species on the planet are in danger of disappearing, and forests and oceans are being polluted and destroyed.

Objective: The European Green Deal is a new growth strategy to make the EU a fair and prosperous society with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. The overarching goal is to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions in the Union by 2050 and to decouple economic growth from resource use. Other key targets include: (1) Ambitious climate change targets for 2030 and 2050; (2) Supply of clean, affordable and secure energy; (3) Mobilization of industry for a clean and circular economy; (4) Energy- and resource-efficient construction and renovation; (5) Zero-pollutant target for a pollution-free environment; (6) Conserve and restore ecosystems and biodiversity; (7) "From farm to table." A Fair, Healthy and Environmentally Friendly Food System; (8) Speed up the transition to sustainable and smart mobility. The Green Deal is intended to serve as a Roadmap to make the EU economy more sustainable. It includes some 49 planned measures to promote the efficient use of resources.

Subject matter: The European Green Deal covers all sectors of the economy - transport, energy, agriculture and buildings, as well as the steel, cement, ICT, textile and chemical industries. To achieve the goal of becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, the Green Deal brings together various strategies and action plans. To finance the Green Deal, an investment plan is to be presented by the Commission in early 2020. In addition, the issue of social justice in climate protection should not be neglected, so a mechanism for a just transition will particularly support regions that are heavily dependent on very CO2-intensive activities.

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Legislative procedure completed: On 30th of June 2021, the Regulation establishing a European Climate Change Act was published in the Official Journal and entered into force 20 days after publication. Already on 21 April 2021, the three EU institutions reached an informal agreement in a trilogue procedure (press release). According to this, in addition to the goal of climate neutrality by 2050, the EU's climate policy framework is to be strengthened by, among other things, the following elements: Commitment to achieve negative emissions after 2050, establishment of a European Climate Council as an independent scientific advisory body, stricter rules for adaptation to climate change, etc.

Proposal: On 4 March 2022, the Commission presented a Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of a European Climate Change Act.

Problem: In order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, net CO2 emissions worldwide must be reduced to zero by 2050. In order to achieve the EU's resulting goal of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, binding regulations on greenhouse gas reduction are needed.

Objective: The Regulation makes the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 binding for the entire EU. Net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU must be reduced by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Previously, a reduction target of only 40 percent applied.

Subject matter: The Fit for 55 package, which provides for revisions of the relevant climate and energy regulations, serves to implement the Union's new climate target for 2030. Among other things, it includes new rules for renewable energy, energy efficiency, land use, energy taxation, CO2 emission standards for light commercial vehicles, task sharing and the emissions trading system. However, this Regulation itself does not set any sectoral targets, economic sectors are only invited to prepare roadmaps to achieve the overall goal of climate neutrality by 2050. In addition to avoiding GHG emissions, emitters are also supposed to remove already emitted GHG from the atmosphere. This is intended to offset their emissions in sectors where reductions are particularly difficult. However, to ensure that certain sectors reduce their GHG emissions sufficiently by 2030, the contribution of GHG removals to the 2030 climate target will be capped at 225 megatonne (Mt) CO2 equivalent net. For monitoring purposes, in line with Article 14 of the Paris Agreement, the Commission is to present, if necessary, a legislative proposal to amend this Regulation no later than six months after the first global stocktake in 2023 (every five years thereafter) and to set interim climate targets for 2040. Prior to this, the Commission shall review and monitor the implementation of the Regulation by 23 September 2023.

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Offshore renewable energy strategy: On 19th of November 2020, the European Commission presented Communication for a Strategy for offshore renewable energy. In the strategy, published as a Communication, it proposes to increase Europe's offshore wind energy capacity from the current 12 GW to at least 60 GW by 2030 and to 300 GW by 2050. The Commission estimates that investment of nearly 800 billion Euro will be needed by 2050 to meet its proposed targets. The Commission plans to ensure that the revision of the State Aid Guidelines for Energy and Environmental Protection and the Renewable Energy Directive facilitate the cost-effective use of offshore renewable energy (press release).

Methane Strategy: On 14th of October 2020, the European Commission adopted a methane Strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the second-largest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide, reducing methane gas emissions is essential to achieving the EU's goal of climate neutrality by 2050. The Commission plans to work with the EU's international partners and industry to reduce emissions along the supply chain. Therefore, the EU methane strategy will focus on more accurate measurement and reporting of methane emissions and the introduction of effective measures to reduce them (press release).

Energy systems integration strategy: On 8th of July 2020, the European Commission presented a Strategy for integrating energy systems. With the help of the strategy, an interconnection of different energy sources, infrastructures and consumption sectors is to be created. This is to be achieved through the creation of a cycle-oriented energy system, greater electrification and the strengthening of clean fuels. The strategy contains a total of 38 concrete measures (press release).

Hydrogen strategy: On 8th of July 2020, the European Commission presented a hydrogen Strategy for a climate-neutral Europe. Hydrogen has the potential to support the decarbonisation of industry, transport, power generation and buildings. Therefore, the strategy primarily aims to promote the development of renewable hydrogen, which is mainly produced with the help of wind and solar energy. However, in the short and medium term, other forms of low-CO2 hydrogen will also be promoted in order to rapidly reduce emissions and support the development of a viable market. Because of this, the strategy is being implemented in three stages (press release).

Financing the Sustainable Transition

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Non-legislative Act: On 14 January 2020, the Commission presented a Communication for an European Green Deal Investment Plan, in other words the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan (press releasepress release).

Problem: As part of the European Green Deal growth strategy, the Union has committed itself to the goal of becoming the world's first climate-neutral economy by 2050. To achieve this goal, substantial investments are needed, both from the EU and the public sector of the Member States as well as from the private sector. An additional 260 billion euros must be raised annually to achieve the 2030 climate and energy targets.

Objective: The Investment Plan aims to mobilise public investment. Through the EU's financial instruments (in particular InvestEU), private funds should be unlocked and leading to investments of at least 1 trillion euros.

Subject matter: To implement the Investment Plan, it is based on three dimensions: (1) Financing: Over the next 10 years, 1 trillion euros is to be mobilised for sustainable financing. This is to be financed by EU budgetary resources, the EUInvest Fund, the JustTransition Fund and from the Innovation Fund and the Modernisation Fund. The European Investment Bank (EIB) serves as the key institution. It uses its own funds as well as EU budgetary funds under various programmes and facilities to finance climate change and environmental investments both inside and outside the EU. (2) Create conditions: Create incentives for public and private investments. In particular, InvestEU should help spread sustainable practices among private and public investors. The EU taxonomy is to make it easier for private investors to invest sustainably. Public investment should be encouraged through green budgeting by member states, minimum "green" criteria or targets for public procurement and by taking energy efficiency into account. (3) Practical support: The Commission should support public authorities and project promoters in the planning, design and implementation of sustainable projects.

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Legislative procedure completed: On 1st of July 2021, the Regulation establishing the Just Transition Fund (JTF) entered into force. After the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached a political agreement in December 2020 (press release). The total budget of the fund is 17.5 billion euro, making it a key element of the European Green Deal and the first pillar of the Just Transition Mechanism. The compromise includes, among other things, a budget commitment for the years 2021-2023, as well as a slightly expanded funding margin and the exclusion of fossil fuel subsidies. A review clause is also included, as well as a strengthened reference to the Union's energy and climate targets and the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Proposal: On 14 January 2020, the Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation establishing the Just Transition Fund (JTF).

Problem: The most vulnerable are the most exposed to the negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. At the same time, managing the transition will lead to significant structural changes. Citizens and workers will be affected in different ways, and not all member states, regions and cities are in the same position or equally equipped for the transition.

Objective: The mechanism provides targeted support to mobilise at least 100 billion euros over the period 2021-2027 in the most affected regions to cushion the socio-economic impact of transition. The mechanism will enable necessary investments to help workers and communities dependent on fossil fuel-related jobs.

Subject matter: The Just Transition Mechanism consists of three main sources of funding: (1) Just Transition Fund, (2) Special Transition Scheme under InvestEU, (3) Loan Facility with the European Investment Bank for the public sector. The total funds available amount to 7.5 billion euro (in 2018 prices) under the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). The post-COVID-19 Recovery Support Instrument (NextGenerationEU) provides a further 10 billion euro (in 2018 prices). If funds are increased after 31st December 2024, the amount of financial support will be adjusted based on member states' GHG emissions. To be eligible for funds from the JTF, member states must prepare territorial plans on how they will use the JTF to create a sustainable and equitable transition. Member states that do not commit to implementing the 2050 carbon neutrality target in their plans will only receive 50 per cent of the available funds. Investments include (a) investments in SMEs, research and innovation activities, new technologies; (b) renewable energy, sustainable local mobility, modernisation of district heating networks; (c)digitalisation, rehabilitation and decontamination of industrial sectors, promotion of the circular economy; and (d) upskilling and retraining of workers and jobseekers and their social inclusion. By 30th June 2025, the Commission will review the implementation of the JTF and submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council, including legislative proposals as appropriate.

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Non-legislative Act: On the 6th of July 2021, the Commission published a Communication on the Strategy for Financing the Transition to a Sustainable Economy (press release).

Problem: Based on the European Green Deal, the EU has made a number of ambitious commitments. As a result, additional investment of an estimated 350 billion euros per year is needed this decade to meet the 2030 emissions reduction target through energy systems alone, plus an additional 130 billion euros for other environmental targets.

Objective: The strategy aims to stimulate investment for the EU's transition to a sustainable economy, with greater involvement of SMEs. In doing so, the framework for sustainable finance aims primarily at channelling private financial flows into relevant economic activities.

Subject matter: The strategy comprises six packages of measures: (1) Expanding the existing toolkit for sustainable finance to facilitate access to finance for transition. (2) Better engaging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and consumers, using the appropriate tools and incentives to access finance for transition. (3) Increasing the resilience of the economic and financial system to sustainability risks, (4) Enhancing the contribution of the financial sector to sustainability. (5) Ensuring the integrity of the EU financial system and monitoring its orderly transition to sustainability, and (6) developing international initiatives and standards for sustainable finance and support to EU partner countries.

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Proposal: On the 21st of April 2021, the Commission presented a Proposal to amend the Directive regarding corporate sustainability reporting (press release).

Problem: According to the current legal framework from 2014 on the disclosure of non-financial information, companies are required to report on how sustainability aspects affect their business performance, situation and business development ("outside-in perspective"), as well as on how these aspects affect people and the environment ("inside-out perspective"). However, the current legal framework is not sufficient to meet the information needs of users. Some companies from which users want sustainability information do not provide it, and when information is provided by companies, it is often not sufficiently reliable or sufficient to compare companies with each other. Therefore, a unified information provision system is needed. As the information gap prevents investors from sufficiently considering sustainability-related risks in their investment decisions, this could have far-reaching consequences for financial stability and for achieving the Green Deal targets.

Objective: The aim of this proposal is to improve the flow of information on sustainability reporting in the corporate world. In particular, it aims to increase the coherence of corporate sustainability reporting and ensure that comparable and reliable sustainability information is made available to financial firms, investors and the wider public. The accountability and transparency of companies should thus represent an improvement in corporate governance with regard to their impact on people and the environment.

Subject matter: The proposed Directive aims to extend EU sustainability reporting requirements to all large companies and all listed companies. This would mean that nearly 50,000 companies in the EU would have to comply with detailed sustainability reporting standards in the future. The Commission proposes the development of standards for large companies, as well as separate, proportionate standards for SMEs that non-listed SMEs can apply voluntarily. In addition, the proposed Directive will simplify reporting for companies by creating a uniform system of reporting standards. By the 31st of October 2022, the Commission is to adopt initial sustainability reporting standards. The member states are to make arrangements for the implementation of the revised Directive by the 1st of December 2022, so that it can be applied from the 1st of January 2023.

Commission Contribution to COP26 in Glasgow

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Non-legislative Act: On the 17th of September 2020, the Commission proposed a Communication on Stepping up Europe’s 2030 climate ambition (press release).

Problem: The average temperature of the Earth in 2019 was about 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The effects of global warming are undisputed: Droughts, storms and other extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. Therefore, a promptness to act is needed to preserve the health, prosperity and well-being of people in Europe and around the world.

Objective: To achieve climate neutrality in the European Union by 2050, emissions reductions of 55 per cent compared to 1990 levels are to be achieved by 2030 with the help of policy measures.

Subject matter: An EU-wide economy-wide target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels requires a series of measures for all sectors of the economy and the introduction of changes to key legal instruments. The measures include (1) transforming the energy system, including buildings, transport and industry. This includes building energy efficiency structures and promoting renewable energy sources. (2) Putting a focus on non-CO2 emissions. Methane, nitrous oxide and so-called F-gases account for almost 20 per cent of EU greenhouse gas emissions and should therefore be reduced by up to 35 percent by 2030 compared to 2015. (3) In the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector, forest protection, more sustainable forest management, sustainable (re)afforestation and better soil management should be promoted and (4) an increasing focus should be placed on the role of emissions trading and energy taxation. Therefore, the Emissions Trading System Directive and Energy Taxation Directive shall be revised.

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Non-legislative Act: On 24 February 2021, the Commission published a Communication on the new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change (press release).

Problem: The impacts of climate change are already almost irreversible. Economic losses due to more frequent climate-related weather extremes are increasing. It is estimated that today's economy in the EU would face annual losses of at least 170 billion euro if the earth were to warm by 3 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. However, climate change not only affects the economy, but also people's well-being and health. Climate change has far-reaching consequences both inside and outside the European Union.

Objective: Building on the 2013 Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, the new strategy aims to be more actionable and effective in tackling climate change and creating a climate resilient Union. Therefore, the long-term vision is to become a climate-resilient society by 2050, fully adapted to the inevitable impacts of climate change. To achieve this, all parts of society and all levels of decision-making are to be integrated into this process.

Subject matter: Building a climate-resilient society requires smarter, faster and more systematic adaptation to the realities of climate change. Therefore, with the help of better data on climate-related risks, climate risk assessment should be improved and adaptation measures accelerated. This data should be freely available to all. The European Knowledge Platform for Climate Adaptation "Climate-ADAPT" is to be improved and expanded, and a special observatory for health is to be established. Climate resilience will be prioritised in other relevant policy areas. Cross-cutting focus will therefore be placed on (1) integration of adaptation into budgetary policy, (2) nature-based adaptation solutions and (3) local adaptation measures. Another focus is the readiness for action at the international level. International climate resilience and willingness is to be supported more strongly through the provision of resources, by increasing international funding, and through increased global engagement and exchange in the field of adaptation.

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Non-legislative Act: On 16 July 2021, the Commission published a Communication on the new EU Forest Strategy 2030 (press release).

Problem: Forests are an important resort in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. They serve as carbon sinks and cushion the effects of climate change. However, forests in Europe are exposed to many different pressures.

Objective: The strategy aims to make a significant contribution to the proposed package of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030 and aim for climate neutrality in the EU by 2050. In addition, the strategy aims to accelerate the removal of CO2 by natural sinks in accordance with the Climate Change Act.

Subject matter: The strategy contains four main areas of action: (1) To support the socio-economic functions of forests for thriving rural areas and boosting forest-based bio-economy. In this context, the most climate- and biodiversity-friendly forest management practices are to be promoted and resource-efficient wood use in line with the cascade principle is to be supported. In addition, ecotourism shall be promoted sustainably. (2) The Protection, restoration and sustainable management of forests: Concrete measures shall be taken to increase the quantity and quality of forests and to strengthen their protection, restoration and resilience. Through the strategy, the EU commits to strictly protecting primary and old-growth forests, restoring degraded forests and ensuring their sustainable management. The strategy also envisages planting three billion additional trees across Europe by 2030, with full respect for ecological principles. Forest owners and managers who provide alternative ecosystem services are to be supported by implementing a payment scheme. In addition, the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is to provide more targeted support for foresters and the sustainable development of forests. (3) Strategic forest monitoring, reporting and data collection: As part of the Forest Strategy, a legislative proposal will be presented to intensify monitoring, reporting and data collection on forests in the EU. (4) Finally, a strong research and innovation agenda to improve knowledge on forests shall be implemented.

Sustainability of Food Systems

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Non-legislative act: On the 20th of May 2020 the Commission put forward a Communication on a farm to fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system (press release).

Problem: The COVID 19 pandemic highlighted the enormous importance of a resilient food system that is able to function in any circumstance and provide citizens with sufficient and affordable food at all times. In addition, the interactions between our health, ecosystems, supply chains, consumption patterns and the Earth's carrying capacity were also highlighted. The increasing challenges posed by the climate crisis also clearly show that our food system is under threat and needs to become more sustainable and resilient.

Objective: At the heart of the Green Deal, the new Farm to Fork strategy aims to open up opportunities for improving our lifestyles, health and protecting the environment. To set global standards in food sustainability, it aims to reduce reliance on pesticides and antimicrobials, reduce overuse of fertilisers, invest in organic farming, improve animal welfare and reverse biodiversity loss. In order to achieve its goal of reducing the environmental and climate footprint of the European food system and strengthening its resilience, it is important to ensure that the food chain from production, transport, and distribution to marketing and consumption has a neutral or positive environmental impact. In addition, food security, nutrition and public health should be guaranteed through universal access to sufficient, nutritious and sustainable food. Furthermore, food prices should be kept affordable while generating a more equitable economic return to the supply chain so that the most sustainable food is also the most affordable.

Subject matter: To accelerate change in this direction and to ensure that all food placed on the EU market is increasingly sustainable, the Commission will propose a legislative initiative setting out a framework for a sustainable food system by the end of 2023. Ensuring sustainable food production requires, among other things, human and financial investment in the actors of the food chain. The shift towards a bio-based circular economy, the use of energy from renewable sources and improved animal welfare are also relevant in this regard. To ensure food security, it is necessary, among other things, to intensify the coordination of a common European response to crises affecting food systems and to develop an emergency plan to guarantee food supply and food security. In addition, sustainable practices in food processing, wholesale, retail, hospitality, and catering services will be promoted, as well as sustainable food consumption. The switch to a healthy and sustainable diet is to be facilitated, among other things, through tax incentives. Food waste is to be reduced, food fraud along the supply chain is to be fought. To enable change, research, innovation, technology, and investment need to be promoted, and advisory services need to be more involved. In order to jointly formulate a sustainable living policy, the Commission calls on all citizens and stakeholders to participate in the public debate.

Decarbonising Energy

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Non-legislative act: On the 8th of July 2020 the Commission put forward a Communication on powering a climate-neutral economy through an EU strategy for Energy System Integration (press release).

Problem: In achieving the goals of the European Green Deal, the energy system plays a crucial role. The current energy system is still based on several vertical, parallel energy value chains that rigidly link certain energy resources and certain end-use sectors. However, this model is unsuitable for achieving a climate-neutral economy and leads to significant losses in the form of waste heat and low-energy efficiency.

Objective: This strategy aims to develop a vision on how to accelerate the transition to a more integrated energy system that supports a climate-neutral economy and strengthens energy security. To this end, concrete policy and legislative measures are proposed at EU level to gradually shape a new integrated energy system. Energy system integration comprises three complementary and reinforcing concepts: (1) a more 'circular' energy system, with energy efficiency at its core; (2) more direct electrification of end-use sectors; and (3) the use of renewable and low-carbon fuels for end-use where direct heating or electrification is not possible, inefficient or more expensive.

Subject matter: In order to address the existing barriers to the integration of the energy system, this strategy establishes six pillars with coordinated actions. The first pillar concerns the application of the 'energy efficiency first' principle as a key element of system integration. Better application of the principle includes, among other things, the development of guidelines for the implementation of EU and national legislation across the energy system. The second pillar is the faster electrification of energy demand. Key measures in this area include the 'Renovation Wave' initiative to promote further electrification of building heating and support for the installation of one million charging points by 2025 to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure and integration of new loads. The third pillar includes the promotion of renewable and low-carbon fuels for sectors where decarbonisation is difficult. This will include support for showcase projects of integrated, CO2-neutral industrial clusters, as well as the novel production of fertilisers from renewable hydrogen. Fourthly, energy markets should be geared towards decarbonisation and decentralised resources. Measures to promote a level playing field for all energy sources, as well as to adapt the legal framework for the gas sector and to improve consumer information, will be applied. In fifth place is the goal of a more integrated energy infrastructure, which is to be achieved, among other things, by accelerating investments in intelligent, highly efficient district heating and cooling networks based on renewable energies. Finally, the sixth pillar concerns a digitalised energy system and a framework that promotes innovation. For this, measures such as the adoption of an action plan for the digitalisation of the energy sector and the development of a network code on cybersecurity in the electricity sector are envisaged. Due to the different starting positions of each EU Member State, they will follow different paths towards the goal of system integration, depending on their circumstances, resources, and policy choices.

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Non-legislative act: On the 14th of October 2020 the Commission published a Communication on a renovation wave for Europa for greening our buildings, creating jobs and improving lives (press release).

Problem: With the COVID 19 pandemic, our living space has become the centre of our lives and its vulnerabilities have become more prominent. Most existing buildings in Europe are not energy efficient. They are heated and cooled by fossil fuels and are equipped with outdated technologies and appliances that consume too much energy.

Objective: For the EU to meet its target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by at least 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990, greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and their energy consumption must be significantly reduced. The envisaged building renovations can not only reduce energy costs and emissions, but also open up numerous opportunities and bring far-reaching social, environmental and economic benefits. The aim is to promote comprehensive energy renovations and to at least double the annual rate of energy renovations of residential and non-residential buildings by 2030.

Subject matter: Key principles for building renovation by 2030 and 2050 are: (1) 'energy efficiency first'; (2) affordability; (3) decarbonisation and integration of renewable energy; (4) consideration of the whole life cycle and circular economy; (5) meeting demanding health and environmental standards; (6) addressing the twin challenges of environmental and digital transformation; and (7) addressing aesthetics and architectural quality. Based on a public consultation and its analyses, the Commission has concluded that investment and key actions are crucial to tangibly increase the number and scale of renovations in the following areas: (1) improving information, legal certainty and incentives for public and private owners and tenants; (2) ensuring adequate and targeted financing; (3) building capacity to prepare and implement projects; (4) promoting comprehensive and integrated renovation; (5) empowering the entire construction sector to undertake sustainable renovations; (6) renovations as a measure to combat energy poverty and access to healthy housing; and (7) promoting decarbonisation of heating and cooling. The envisaged measures are intended to promote the renovation of all buildings, but there are three main areas of focus: energy poverty and the most energy inefficient buildings; the renovation of public buildings such as administration, education, and health; and the decarbonisation of heating and cooling. Priority should be given to these areas in terms of policies and funding. To support member states in planning and implementing ambitious renovation measures as part of their building plans, the Commission will present a comprehensive package of policy and regulatory measures. The successful implementation of the building renovation project also requires the mobilisation and involvement of cities, local and regional authorities, stakeholders, and citizens. Thus, building renovation should become a common European project.

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Non-legislative act: On the 19th of November 2020 the Commission put forward a Communication on an EU strategy to harness the potential of offshore renewable energy for a climate neutral future (relpressease).

Problem: In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990, according to the intentions of the 2030 Climate Change Target Plan, it is necessary to expand the offshore wind energy industry to the extent that it can be compatible with the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

Objective: The new EU strategy aims to make offshore renewable energy a core part of the European energy system by 2050. Starting from today's installed offshore wind capacity of 12 GM, the EU sets a realistic and achievable target of installing offshore wind capacity of 60 GM and marine energy capacity of 1 GM by 2030 - aiming for installed capacity of 300 GM and 40 GM respectively by 2050.

Subject matter: To make offshore energy a core component of the European energy system, a diversified approach tailored to different situations is needed. There is a need to identify and use a much larger number of sites for offshore renewable energy production and connection to the electricity transmission grid. A holistic approach should be taken. It is also important to ensure that the development of offshore renewable energy is in line with EU environmental policy and legislation and the Integrated Maritime Policy. Key measures for sustainable maritime spatial planning include the promotion of cross-border cooperation, guidance on wind energy development and EU nature legislation, and support for projects with member states and regional organisations aimed at multiple uses of marine space. Another challenge to be met concerns the development of the offshore grid. Key measures will be taken, including the publication of a new EU guide on how to coordinate the distribution of costs and benefits across borders for energy transmission projects combined with power generation projects. Furthermore, a clear EU legal framework for offshore renewable energy needs to be established. The Commission is clarifying the legal framework, in particular with regard to offshore bidding zones for hybrid projects. Other measures in this area include proposing guidelines on cost-benefit sharing for cross-border projects, and amending the legislation on the permitted use of congestion to allow member states more flexibility in the use of congestion rents for hybrid offshore projects. The investment required to implement the new strategy is estimated at up to 800 billion euro. About two-thirds of this will go to financing the associated grid infrastructure, and one-third to offshore generation. In addition, the Commission and the EIB, among others, will work together to support strategic investments in offshore energy through "InvestEU", including higher-risk investments that strengthen the EU's technological leadership. There is also a need to further support research and innovation in offshore projects, as well as to strengthen the pan-European supply and value chain to increase capacity.

Sustainable Production and Consumption

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Non-legislative act: On the 11th of March 2020 the Commission put forward a Communication on a new circular economy plan (press release).

Problem: Global consumption of materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, minerals, and metals is expected to double over the next forty years and annual waste generation is projected to increase by 70 per cent by 2050. To achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2050, economic growth must be decoupled from resource use and the circular economy must be expanded from pioneers to established economic actors.

Objective: The Circular Economy Action Plan aims to accelerate the profound change called for by the European Green Deal. It aims to streamline the regulatory framework and offer perspectives for a sustainable future with new opportunities. The plan includes a package of interlinked initiatives that aim to create a coherent and strong framework for production policies that make sustainable products, services, and business models the norm. Consumption patterns are to be changed so that no waste is generated in the first place.

Subject matter: To implement the framework for sustainable product policy, it is necessary to design sustainable products that are suitable for a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and circular economy. To this end, the Commission will propose a legislative initiative on sustainable product policy. This will focus on ensuring that the ecodesign framework can be applied to the widest possible range of products and contribute to the circular economy. Within the framework of this legislative initiative, sustainability principles are to be defined, if necessary, through supplementary legislative proposals. Consumers should in future receive reliable and relevant information about products at the point of sale, for example about their lifespan and the availability of repair services. In production processes by itself, the circularity principle is to be strengthened by, among other things, promoting the use of digital technologies for exploring, tracking and inventorying resources. Electrical and electronic equipment is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the EU and thus requires a circular economy-focused electronics initiative. The Commission will also propose a new regulatory framework for batteries and vehicles. In the packaging and plastics sector, binding requirements will be tightened and strategies will be developed. With regard to textiles, a comprehensive strategy will be developed to promote, among other things, the sorting, reuse, and recycling of textiles. Furthermore, a strategy for a sustainable built environment will promote the principles of the circular economy throughout the life cycle of buildings, including by promoting measures to improve the durability and adaptability of buildings. With regard to the food value chain, one of the objectives is to reduce food waste. In the area of waste and social policy, the EU's circularity principle is also to be promoted. However, to be truly successful, the transition to a circular, resource-efficient, equitable and climate-neutral economy must also be ensured at the global level, which is why the Union intends to take a leading role in efforts at the global level, for example by ensuring that free trade agreements reflect the broader goals of the circular economy. To assess the effectiveness of the Action Plan, the Commission will strengthen the monitoring of national plans and actions to accelerate the transition to a circular economy as part of the refocusing of the European Semester on a broader sustainability dimension.

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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 114 TFEU, Q4 2020.

Postponed to 2021.

Protecting our Environment

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Non-legislative act: On the 20th of May 2020 the Commission put forward a Communication on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 (press release).

Problem: Nature and its protection are an essential condition for the health and resilience of societies. The close link between human health and ecosystem health makes the plight of nature a threat to society. The foundations of our economy are also threatened by biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse.

Objective: The EU aims to prevent the loss of biodiversity in Europe and to set a good example globally. It aims to contribute to the agreement and adoption of a global post-2020 framework at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The overarching goal is to restore and adequately protect all the world's ecosystems by 2050.

Subject matter: The EU's protection of nature to date is incomplete and its enforcement insufficient, which is why the EU's network of protected areas needs to be improved and expanded, and an ambitious EU nature restoration plan needs to be developed. To protect the environment and our economy, a coherent network of protected areas should be created. Key EU commitments by 2030 include legal protection of at least 30 per cent of the EU's land and 30 per cent of its marine areas, and strict protection of at least one third of the EU's protected areas, including all remaining primary and virgin forests in the EU. The EU Nature Restoration Plan aims to improve the condition of existing and new protected areas and restore diverse and resilient nature to all landscapes and ecosystems. Concrete commitments by 2030 foreseen by the EU Nature Restoration Plan include reversing the decline of pollinators, reducing the risk and use of chemical and hazardous pesticides by 50 per cent, and planting three billion new trees in the EU. Furthermore, legally binding EU nature restoration targets will be proposed in 2021 following an impact assessment. Cities of 20 000 inhabitants or more are to have a greening plan and the use of chemical pesticides in sensitive areas such as the EU's urban green spaces is to be ended. To enable profound change, a new European biodiversity governance framework will be established to capture commitments and obligations and set a roadmap for their implementation. The strategy will also focus on efforts to implement and enforce EU environmental legislation. To achieve profound change, an integrated and whole-of-society approach is essential as a starting point. This should be done by engaging businesses in biodiversity, investing in nature and improving biodiversity knowledge and education through investment in research programmes. To raise the EU's biodiversity agenda to a global level, external policies such as international maritime policy and trade policy, among others, should be used to promote the EU's goals.

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Legislative procedure completed: The decision was adopted by the Council on the 29th of March 2022 (press release). Council and Parliament have agreed on the following basic preconditions for the priority objectives: Reducing the EU's material and consumption footprint, strengthening environmentally positive incentives and phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, in particular fossil fuel subsidies. In addition, a mid-term review of progress towards the priority thematic objectives in 2024 was included in the 8th Environment Action Programme.

Proposal: On the 14th of October 2020, the Commission published a Proposal for a Decision establishing a General Union Environment Action Programme for the period up to 2030.

Problem: The Union's environmental policy has brought significant benefits in recent decades, as this area has increasingly been shaped by an ambitious long-term vision, targets, and strategic framework strategies that will effectively reduce environmental pressures in the future, nevertheless, the continuing environmental challenges require further determined action in the EU and globally.

Objective: The proposal aims to establish a general programme of action in the field of the environment policy for the period up to 31 December 2030 ("8th Environment Action Programme"). This is intended to accelerate the Union's transition to a carbon-neutral, resource-efficient, clean and circular economy in an equitable and to enable compliance with the environmental goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The 8th Environmental Action Programme (8th EAP) is to set priority thematic targets in the areas of climate neutrality, adaptation to climate change, protection, and restoration of biodiversity, circular economy, zero-pollutant target and reduction of the environmental impact of production and consumption. Furthermore, the prerequisites for the realisation of the long-term and priority thematic goals are to be identified for all stakeholders involved. In this way, the environmental and climate protection goals of the European Green Deal are to be supported in line with the long-term goal of living well within the carrying capacity limits of our planet by 2050.

Subject matter: Due to the highly decentralised nature of environmental policy, measures to achieve the priority objectives should be taken through a cooperative multi-level governance approach. The integrative approach should also be strengthened through regular evaluation of existing policy measures. Furthermore, effective integration of environmental and climate sustainability into the European Semester for economic governance; mobilisation of sustainable investments from public and private sources; full use of nature-based solutions and social innovations; and effective application of high standards of transparency, public participation and access to justice, in line with the Convention on Access to Information, among others, are foreseen. The Commission will be supported in improving the availability and relevance of data and knowledge by the European Environment Agency and the European Chemicals Agency. This will include collecting, processing, and reporting evidence and data using modern digital tools; further improving access to data through Union programmes; and ensuring transparency and accountability.

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Non-legislative act: On the 14th of October 2020 the Commission put forward a Communication on a chemicals strategy for sustainability (press release).

Problem: Chemicals play an essential role in our everyday lives and in most of our activities, with exposure to hazardous chemicals can harm humans and their health. Chemical pollution is also a threat to the planet, influencing and amplifying crises such as climate change, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. To ensure that sustainable chemicals that enable the green and digital turn are developed and used, more innovation is needed for the green turn of the chemical industry and its value chains.

Objective: The Communication aims to make chemicals legislation more efficient and effective, thereby promoting the development and diffusion of innovative safe and sustainable chemicals across all sectors. Particularly in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic, it is important to strengthen the EU's open strategic autonomy through resilient value chains and to diversify sustainable sources of supply for those chemicals that have essential uses for our health and for achieving a climate-neutral circular economy. The new EU chemicals policy strategy, together with the European Green Deal, aims to create a pollution-free environment. Chemicals should be produced and used in a way that maximises their contribution to society as well as to achieving the green and digital turnarounds, without harming either the planet or future generations. European industry should become a competitive global leader in this sector through the production and use of safe and sustainable chemicals. In addition to the societal component, the economic component is also crucial in the transition to inherently safe and sustainable chemicals.

Subject matter: Concrete actions planned by the Commission in this regard include the development of EU criteria for inherently safe and sustainable chemicals and the establishment of an EU-wide support network for inherently safe and sustainable chemicals. The new EU strategy also includes the realisation of safe products and pollutant-free material cycles, for example through measures such as minimising the presence of substances of concern in products by introducing concrete requirements or developing methods for the risk assessment of chemicals. In addition, chemical production is to be greened and digitalised. To this end, the Commission will support, among other things, the research, development and use of low-CO2 and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes for chemicals and materials through its financial instruments and research and innovation programmes. Furthermore, the new strategy aims to strengthen open strategic autonomy. In addition to the new strategy, the EU regulatory framework will be strengthened to address urgent environmental and health challenges, including the protection of consumers, vulnerable groups from particularly harmful chemicals and measures against pollution of the natural environment by chemicals. In addition to strengthening the regulatory framework, it will be simplified and consolidated. The "one substance, one assessment" approach is also intended to ensure that the methods for classifying chemicals are made more consistent. In the event of non-compliance with the regulations, the zero-tolerance approach is to take effect, which, among other things, lays down uniform control conditions and frequencies. The availability of chemical data is also to be improved and the science-policy interface in the area of chemicals strengthened.

Sustainable and Smart Mobility

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Non-legislative act: On the 9th of December 2020 the Commission put forward a Communication on a sustainable and smart mobility strategy to put European transport on track for the future (press release).

Problem: Mobility and transport are central to society. While it offers many benefits to its users, it also comes with costs to our society such as including greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, noise pollution. As a result, human health and well-being is affected.

Objective: The aim of the EU transport policy is, on the one hand, to achieve a significant reduction in emissions and to become more sustainable and, on the other hand, to arm the transport system against future crises, for example by strengthening cohesion and improving connectivity. Moreover, mobility should be available and affordable for all. In order to become climate neutral by 2050 in accordance with the goals of the European Green Deal, greenhouse gas emissions from transport must be reduced by 90 per cent. To achieve this, the EU has set itself a number of milestones. By 2030, for example, 100 European cities are to become climate-neutral, high-speed rail transport is to be doubled, zero-emission ships are to be ready for the market, and so on. By 2035, the EU has set itself the goal of making emission-free large aircraft ready for the market. The EU's ambitions by 2050 include tripling high-speed rail, doubling rail freight and providing the multimodal trans-European transport network equipped for sustainable and intelligent transport with high-speed connectivity for the entire network.

Subject matter: In order to be able to achieve the named goals, action must be taken that significantly reduces the current dependence on fossil fuels in particular. Furthermore, decisive action is needed to shift more transport to sustainable modes and to internalise external costs. In order to make all modes of transport more sustainable, the Union is setting itself a number of flagship initiatives, such as promoting the use of zero-emission vehicles and renewable and low-carbon fuels, as well as building the necessary infrastructure. This includes revising CO2 standards for cars and vans, and promoting high-performance tyres. To ensure that sustainable alternatives are widely available so that the most appropriate modes of transport can always be chosen, more sustainable and healthier mobility between and within cities must be ensured. In 2021, the Commission will propose an action plan to promote rail passenger transport on long-distance and cross-border routes. Another flagship initiative concerns the greening of freight transport, which includes a fundamental transformation of the existing framework for intermodal transport. In order to drive the transition to zero-emission mobility, the right incentives need to be put in place, such as CO2 pricing and the end of fossil fuel subsidies. Other key points of the new strategy include the realisation of connected and automated multimodal mobility, as well as the use of new innovations for smarter mobility. In view of the consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic, it becomes apparent that the resilience of the European transport area urgently needs to be strengthened. The strategy aims to help both the transport sector and relevant ecosystems such as travel and tourism to emerge stronger from this crisis and become greener, smarter and more resilient.

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