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ECR

Don’t let those in rural and coal-dependent regions be the hardest hit by the Green Deal

14 July 2021

Don’t let those in rural and coal-dependent regions be the hardest hit by the Green Deal

The ECR Group does not object to achieving climate neutrality by the EU as a whole by 2050, but remains highly concerned with the way the Commission approaches this overall goal.

In a reaction to the European Commission’s presentation of the so-called “Fit for 55” legislative package which combines energy and climate laws to reduce CO2 emissions by 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030, MEP Alexandr Vondra, ECR Coordinator in the Committee on the Environment said:

“We have to make the transition to a climate-neutral society while thinking of poorer citizens, without endangering jobs in industry and without neglecting rural and coal-dependent regions. The future must not become a project of the rich, the elites and the urbanites. It must strengthen Europe’s competitiveness and offer prospects for everyone while concurrently enabling the low-carbon transition.”

Mr. Vondra added:

“As we witnessed during the work on the recent European Climate Law, the Commission’s impact assessment did not provide an answer to some of the major issues, including its socio-economic impact on different Member States. These concerns were confirmed by an evaluation of the impact assessment by the Research Service of the European Parliament.”

“The suggestion to extend the scope of the EU Emissions Trading System to buildings and transport appears reckless, ill-conceived, and could return the gilets jaunes to Europe’s streets. Those hardest hit would be people in regions with poor public transport infrastructure and residents unable to afford energy efficiency upgrades to their homes.”

“The proposed social fund to soften the socio-economic impacts, based on 25 per cent of the income generated by the auctioning of allowances—and if ever agreed with the Council—is entirely insufficient to compensate for the vast scale of renovation needed in homes and electrification of road transport. But there are also major issues for countries relying on coal and countries struggling with a deficit of ETS allowances—we need to consider better ways to use the Modernisation Fund and allowances in the Market Stability Reserve for their benefit to ensure the transition is just and does not leave anybody behind.”

Mr. Vondra continued:

“The challenges ahead will not be straightforward, and require upskilling and reskilling initiatives to future-proof the automotive workforce, as well as funding and regulatory provisions to ease the social consequences in poorer Member States, which continue to import a large number of second-hand cars from wealthier countries and where consumers do not necessarily have the funds to purchase electric cars.”

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