First let me start by thanking you Svenja personally and the Germany Presidency for their work to prepare us for adopting a full general approach on the European Climate Law Regulation at this Council.
I am happy that discussions with the European Parliament started as you mentioned at a technical level and they look frankly very very promising.
We should agree on the European climate law swiftly. It provides the certainty that industries and citizens require. It is in our view the “law of the laws” and as such our compass for the path towards climate neutrality. This is a long path, 30 years, and we will have many distractions on the way and then the law will provide us with the framework within which even if there are distractions, we will stay on track to reach this ultimate goal.
I am like you Svenja very glad that Heads of state and Government at the European Council last week also agreed on the last remaining item, the revised 2030 climate target. We can now pave the path to an at least 55% reduction target in 2030 and towards climate neutrality by 2050.
And let me just underline that we are no longer alone in this. I remember a year ago many were saying ‘yes it is very ambitious but what does it mean if Europe takes this step, only 9% of emissions, and the rest of the world doesn’t follow’. Well things are changing. You have seen Xi Jinping’s declaration on this, you have seen the ambitions of the incoming Biden Administration on this, you have seen Japan declaring climate neutrality 2050, Korea doing the same. You have seen incredible steps being taken by South Africa. So I think it is fair to say we are no longer alone. We are leading the way but others are following and that is exactly what we wanted to achieve.
I understand that you want to know what an increased target will mean for you. We at the Commission we are working on the impact assessments for the June 2021 proposals and more information will become available as we are preparing them. For instance, on the scope of the ETS and the ESR.
We will have more discussions on the details in the context of the “fit-for-55%” package and beyond. In my view, the climate law itself is not the place for those discussions. It should firmly set our targets and we will implement them through the more specific legislative instruments the EU level has, as well as ambitious national measures obviously.
Solidarity and fairness are key elements of any climate framework. If we say we want to leave no one behind it needs to have implications. And At the same time, all sectors and Member States will need to contribute and plan for the transition towards climate neutrality.
The EU climate policies up to now have always taken into account distributional elements, fairness elements. That’s why the Modernisation Fund was established to foster the modernisation of the energy system in lower income Member States; that’s also why the Effort Sharing Regulation sets different national greenhouse gas reduction targets. We take into account the different starting positions of Member States.
Distributional aspects will also be addressed in the proposals we will make between here and June next year. And I count on your full engagement in this process.
The European Council has called on the Council and the European Parliament to reflect the new target in the European Climate Law proposal and to adopt the Climate Law swiftly.
I believe that on the basis of the preparatory work and efforts during the German presidency, you should be able to agree today on a full general approach and turn towards the European Parliament with a position for further negotiation on all elements of the proposal. And I know they are very eager in the European Parliament to start as quickly as possible – as is the Commission frankly.
This would be I think a very nice Christmas present before we all leave on what I believe has become a very well deserved break.
And let me end by saying that I look forward to continuing to work constructively with all of you and the European Parliament to find as soon as possible an ambitious agreement on the first European Climate Law.