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

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

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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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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 192(1) TFEU, Q1 2022.

  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).
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.

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 simultaneous 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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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 114 TFEU, Q4 2021.

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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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Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 192 TFEU, Q4 2021.

  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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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. After the Commission presented a Proposal for a Regulation on 4th of March 2020, the three EU institutions already reached an informal agreement in a trilogue procedure on 21st of April 2021 (press release).

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 Regulation stems from a Commission Proposal for a Regulation of 14th January 2020.

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 euros (in 2018 prices) under the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). The post-COVID-19 Recovery Support Instrument (NextGenerationEU) provides a further 10 billion euros (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, Q1 2020.

Decarbonising Energy

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Non-legislative, Q2 2020.

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Non-legislative, Q3 2020.

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Non-legislative, Q4 2020.

Sustainable Production and Consumption

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Communication "A new Circular Economy Action Plan (non-legislative, 11th of March 2020, press release).

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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, Q1 2020.

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General Union Environment Action Program: On the 14th of October 2020, the European Commission put forward a Proposal for a Decision on a General Union Environment Action Program to 2030. The Proposal sets out a general action program in the field of the environment for the period up to 31 December 2030 (‘8th  EAP’). The overarching aim of the 8th EAP is to accelerate the Union’s transition to a climate-neutral, resource-efficient clean and circular economy in a just and inclusive way and achieve the environmental objectives of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, fully endorsing the environmental and climate objectives of the European Green Deal. The European Parliament and the Council are supposed to adopt the 8th EAP in the course of 2021.

Achieving the priority objectives of the 8th EAP will require an effective integration of environmental and climate sustainability in the European Semester of economic governance, including in the National Reform Programmes and National Recovery and Resilience plans; Phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies at Union and national level, making the best use of market-based instruments and green budgeting tools. The Commission, supported by the European Environment Agency and the European Chemicals Agency,  shall assess and report on the progress of the Union and the member states with regard to achieving the priority objectives.

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© ZEI

Non-legislative, Q3 2020.

Sustainable and Smart Mobility

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Communication on a "Strategy for sustainable and smart mobility" (non-legislative, 9th of December 2020, press release).

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© ZEI

Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 100(2) TFEU and/or Article 192(1) TFEU, Q4 2020.

Postponed to July 2021.

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© ZEI
Legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 100(2) TFEU and/or Article 192(1) TFEU, Q4 2020.
Postponed to July 2021.

ZEI Related Publikations

Covid-19 Pandemic and the Water Sector in the Mediterranean

Amy Briffa

In: Robert Stüwe / Sally Brammer (eds.): ZEI-MEDAC Future of Europe Observer. Post Pandemic Prospects in the Euro-Mediterranean Region, Jg. 8 Nr. 3 November 2020, S. 6-8

Welche politischen Auswirkungen hat die Covid-19-Pandemie in der Europa-Mittelmeer-Region? Diese Frage beleuchten Master Fellows "Class of 2020" und Wissenschaftler der Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC) aus Malta und des Zentrums für Europäische Integrationsforschung (ZEI) in der jüngsten Gemeinschaftsausgabe des ZEI-MEDAC Future of Europe Observer. Das aktuelle Heft beleuchtet sowohl wirtschafts- als auch sicherheitspolitische Herausforderungen in der Region und analysiert verschiedene Facetten der Rechtsstaatsproblematik am Nord- und Südufer des Mittelmeeres mit Hilfe von Fallstudien. Die Publikation ist das jüngste Ergebnis der langjährigen Zusammenarbeit zwischen beiden Institutionen.

Das Machtproblem der EU-Energieaußenpolitik. Von der Integration zur Projektion beim Erdgasimport? 

Robert Stüwe

Schriftenreihe des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Bd. 81, Nomos: Baden-Baden 2020, ISBN 978-3-8487-6882-0

Für die Europäische Union ist die Abhängigkeit von Erdgasimporten eine innere und äußere Machtfrage. Die vorliegende Studie untersucht, wie die EU ihre eigenen Machtinstrumente einer Käufermacht schärfen und wirkungsvoller gegenüber Drittstaaten einsetzen kann. Der Verfasser legt dar, dass die EU neben der Lieferabhängigkeit auch Risiken wie Korruption, Rechtsstaatsdefiziten und
importierten staatskapitalistischen Praktiken zur Garantie ihrer Energiesicherheit
nicht ausweichen darf. Zur Analyse des inneren und äußeren Machtausübungsproblems der EU werden die Begriffskonzepte der „Integrationsmacht“ und der „Projektionsmacht“ entwickelt, die der Verfasser mit einem robusten politikwissenschaftlichen Theoriefundament unterlegt. Eine Reihe an praktischen Handlungsempfehlungen im Zeitalter globalisierter Erdgas-Märkte rundet die Studie ab.

Competition and the Water Sector,

Alexander Gee

In: Christian Koenig / Ludger Kühnhardt (eds.): Governance and Regulation in the European Union. Schriftenreihe des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Bd. 77, Nomos: Baden-Baden 2017, S. 281 - 287, ISBN: 978-3-8487-4462-6.

Der Reader "Governance and Regulation in the EU" spiegelt den Schwerpunkt des Zentrums für Europäische Integrationsforschung (ZEI) in Forschung und Lehre. „Regieren und Regulieren in der EU“ vereint die beiden Aspekte, deren Zusammenspiel die EU in ihren Auswirkungen auf das Leben der Bürger und auf ihre Rolle weltweit maßgeblich prägt. Regieren legitimiert Regulieren und Regulieren ist notwendig, um das Funktionieren des EU-Binnenmarktes sicherzustellen. Das Werk eröffnet interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf die Union und bietet tiefere Einblicke in den zunehmend komplexen Prozess der europäischen Integration. Zu den Autoren gehören renommierte Wissenschaftler und Sachgebietsexperten, die im „Master of European Studies – Governance and Regulation“, dem Postgraduierten-Studiengang des ZEI, lehren.

Europeanising EU Energy Policy

Günther H. Oettinger

ZEI Discussion Paper C 202 / 2010

Archive

Further publications can be found in the ZEI archive

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