6 October 2020
During the debate ahead of Wednesday’s crucial European Parliament plenary vote on the European Climate Law report, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group expressed their concerns about the potentially disastrous socio-economic impact the new rules on climate neutrality might have on the lives and jobs of European citizens.
For the ECR Group, the changes to the Commission proposal made by the majority Groups have neither been impact-assessed, nor have they taken into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, nor the various socio-economic imbalances or starting points of Member States in the race for climate neutrality. This is especially true when looking at countries in Central and Eastern Europe which remain heavily reliant on fossil fuels. As a result, this report risks creating another major imbalance among Member States, undermining the principle of EU solidarity.
Speaking in the Plenary, ECR Shadow rapporteur MEP Anna Zalewska stated:
“This is the historic moment we have to take on our shoulders. This is the moment of parliamentary responsibility. The European Parliament promised to protect the environment, the water and the air, but it also promised responsibility, using facts and verifying consequences.
“Yes, we are thinking about what will happen in ten, twenty and thirty years time. But we also have to think about what will happen in one, two and three years time. As an impact assessment would show, the negative side-effects have been neglected: We can see how unemployment, energy poverty, water, waste and the rise of energy prices have been handled carelessly. This is not what we promised to our citizens, we promised them European solidarity.
“Just a few months ago, we heard from the European Environment Agency that we would not be able to achieve the ambitious 40 per cent target, yet now we are already talking about 55 per cent, even knowing what will happen to the price of allowances - during the pandemic the price per ton of carbon dioxide has more than doubled.”
Zalewska also referred to the grave situation concerning farmers, stating that the European Parliament had made them responsible for both the implementation of its biodiversity and farm-to-fork strategies, but also in forcing them to count, hire accountants and increase bureaucracy. “Yes, we are responsible and we will confirm this in our vote”, emphasised the MEP.
Speaking ahead of Zalewska, ECR opinion Rapporteur for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy Zdzisław Krasnodębski said:
“As historical experience shows, radicalism that is inconsistent with reality often leads to effects that are opposite to the goals they want to achieve, and often ends in a catastrophe.
“Also, we European parliamentarians should not focus on the populist bidding on proposals for the greatest possible reduction of greenhouse gases in the shortest possible time, but seek realistic scenarios, acceptable to individual Member States and their societies - such scenarios that will not frustrate the achievement of other Union goals - e.g. economic recovery after a pandemic, strengthening its competitiveness, its technological sovereignty.”
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