14 Jul, 2021

Europe’s liberals react to Fit for 55 package ahead of release later today

Later today, the European Commission will unveil its proposal for the Fit for 55 package, which is part of the European Green Deal. The package, proposed by the Commission and supported by the European Parliament, includes a majority of proposals made by the Renew Europe Group.

The package will include 13 legislative proposals that aim to reach the EU’s climate target of 55% of net reduction in emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Of these 13 proposals, eight will be modifications to existing proposals and five will be new proposals.

ALDE Party has reached out to some of Europe’s liberals to hear what they think of the upcoming package and its potential in fighting climate change across different sectors.

In an exclusive mini interview with Krista Baumane MP (Kustība Par!, Latvia), we asked how Europe can speed up the deployment and use of low/zero emission vehicles:

“Make mobility more convenient, in ways that don’t require cars, invest in emission-free public transportation instead of waiting for people to buy electric cars which they can’t afford, especially in less wealthy countries,” Baumane said.

“Remote work is here to stay for good reasons, not just COVID-19. I’m sure Europeans will benefit from a healthy combination of remote and office work in the future, enhanced by well-developed digital services, like we do here in Latvia,” Baumane continued, reflecting on what else Europe can do to decarbonise this sector.

FDP climate spokesperson Lukas Köhler (FDP, Germany) reflected in his mini interview on the proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and whether it is an efficient way forward.

“It’s not a good way to establish a level playing field amongst the countries in the world when it comes to CO2 emissions as it’s highly complex to establish a footprint of CO2. There are huge problems with the World Trade Organization and the way of protectionism. And it doesn’t help companies in Europe to produce CO2-free products. It’s just something limiting other countries from importing. And thus, not a good way to prevent climate change,” Köhler said.

The expected key changes of the Fit for 55 package include:

  • A new Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

This new regulation will put a price on the importation of goods into the single market to account for their carbon footprint.

  • Amendments to the regulation setting out CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans
  • Changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

These will include an expansion of the ETS to cover more sectors such as buildings, road transportation and the maritime transpiration industry and it will adjust the cap to fit with the new emissions reduction target. A resolution asking for these changes was adopted at this year’s ALDE eCongress.

  • A new EU Forestry Strategy

The European Commission will propose a new roadmap for the governance of the forestry sector. This aims to protect primary and old-growth forests.

  • Changes to Energy Efficiency Directives (EED) on buildings

The focus is on revising the EU level target to 32.5% energy savings by 2030 with a focus on renovating public buildings. Delegates at this year’s eCongress called for more investments to renovate buildings to be more energy efficient at this year’s eCongress.

For more information on the Fit for 55 package, visit the European Commission’s website

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