European Parliament adopts centerpiece of “Fit for 55” legislative package for more climate neutrality

Ripa: “The EU is passing the world’s largest legislative package towards climate neutrality.”

(Strasbourg, 18.04.2023) The European Parliament today adopted the final negotiating outcome between Parliament, Commission, and Council for important parts of the EU climate protection package “Fit for 55”. The legislative package, the largest of its kind worldwide, aims to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050. It includes proposals for a CO2 border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), a revised EU emissions trading system (ETS), and a climate social fund (SCF), among others. The negotiations for these three legislative initiatives were completed last December.

Manuela Ripa, Member of the European Parliament for the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP), who negotiated the proposal for a CO2 border adjustment mechanism as shadow rapporteur for her Greens/EFA group, is pleased: “The introduction of a CO2 border adjustment tax through CBAM is an important milestone in the fight against climate change. The regulation intervenes where the previous free allocation of emission certificates has failed and sets a clear stop sign for companies that still want to introduce CO2-intensive products into the European market. CBAM is an enormous opportunity for European companies to position themselves quickly and sustainably and to become global leaders in climate protection.”

However, the European politician sees room for improvement: “I regret that the scope of CBAM is not more far-reaching. Because a limited application will not prevent the industry from migrating to third countries. Therefore, the scope must be extended, particularly to downstream products, i.e., composite products made entirely of steel, to also take into account the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises. However, the Council prevented this during the trilogue negotiations.” Nevertheless, Ripa sees the possibility of remedying this shortcoming, but time is pressing: “In order for CBAM to have its full effect and to make a positive contribution to combating climate change, the necessary adjustments to the scope must be made before the start of the actual application of CBAM, i.e., before January 2026.”

Ripa emphasizes that the social dimension also plays a crucial role in the design of the “Fit for 55” package. “Climate protection measures must be socially acceptable. I call on the Member States to adequately finance the climate social fund and to use the funds specifically for the groups that are financially most affected. Climate protection measures must not become an additional burden for financially weaker households and small businesses. The climate social fund can only be the beginning; further measures for social justice are important. After all, climate change is a global challenge that must be addressed together to create a sustainable future,” concludes the Member of Parliament.